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V. 1 






Cornell University Library 
DG 254.F38 1907 

The greatness and decline of Rome 

3 1924 020 767 913 








Cornell University 

The original of tiiis book is in 
tine Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 



VOL. I. 









Printed in England 


These two volumes contain a history of the age of Caesar, from 
the death of Sulla to the Ides of March. They cover 'the 
critical years in which Roman imperialism definitely asserted 
its sway over the civilised world — ^when, by the conversion of 
the Mediterranean into an Italian lake, Italy entered upon her 
historic task as intermediary between the Hellenised East and 
barbarous Europe. 

Prefixed to the work are five introductory chapters giving 
a somewhat lengthy summary of Roman history down to the 
moment when the detailed narrative begins. Despite the 
many defects to which this style of writing is obviously exposed, 
I would beg my readers to study these chapters with patience 
and goodwill ; for they are a necessary introduction to the fuU 
description and understanding of Caesar's own age. 

Human history, like all other phenomena of life and motion, 
is the unconscious product of an infinity of small and un- 
noticed efforts. Its work is done, spasmodically and in disorder, 
by single individuals or groups of individuals, acting generally 
from immediate motives, with results which always transcend 
the knowledge and intentions of contemporaries, and are but 
seldom revealed, darkly and for a moment, to succeeding 
generations. To find a clue to the immediate, accidental, 
and transitory motives which have pricked on the men of the 
past to their labours ; to describe vividly and whole-heartedly 
their vicissitudes and anxieties, their struggles and illusions, 
as they pursued their work ; to discover how and why, through 
this work, the men of one generatio^i have often, not satisfied 
the passions which spurred them to action, but effected some 
lasting transformation in the life of their society — this should be, 
in my opinion, the unfailing inspiration of the historian's task. 


I hope that my book has enabled me to demonstrate that 
the Roman world-conquest, one of those amazing spectacles 
in history which, seen from a distance, seem to defy both 
comparison and explanation, was in reality the effect, remark- 
able, indeed, for its special conditions of place and time, of an 
internal transformation which is continually being re-enacted 
in the history of societies on a larger or a smaller scale, promoted 
by the same causes and with the same resultant confusion and 
suffering— the growth of a nationalist and industrial democracy 
on the ruins of a federation of agricultural aristocracies. 

My intention is to continue the narrative, in succeeding 
volumes, down to the break-up of the Empire. We shall 
watclx, in the generation between Augustus and Nero, the 
appearance of a new aristocracy out of the industrial democracy 
of Caesar's age ; we shall watch this aristocracy,, all-powerful 
in a peaceful empire, crumble slowly to pieces through its 
own prosperity, while Christianity and the Oriental worships 
undermine its spiritual foundations ; and finally we shall watch 
it as^ it is engulfed anew, and takes down with it into the 
deeps all that was most ancient and revered in Graeco-Latin 
civilisation. Thus the book includes in its survey the entire 
course of one of the most remarkable societies in history, from 
its birth to its death — from the far-distant morning when a 
small clan of peasants and shepherds felled the forests on the 
Palatine to raise altars to its tribal deities, down to the tragic 
hour in which the sun of Graeco-Latin civilisation set over 
the deserted fields, the abandoned cities, the homeless, ignorant, 
and brutalised peoples of Latin Europe. 

Turin; December i, 1901. 



I. The Small Beginnings of a Great Empire . . i 
II. The First Military and Commercial Expansion 

OF Rome in the Mediterranean Basin . . i8 

III. The Gracchi and the New Italy .... 44 

IV. Marius and the Great Proletarian Rising of 

the Ancient World 70 

V. Sulla and the Conservative Reaction ... 87 

VI. Cesar's D^but in Politics 106 

VII. The Conquest of Bithynia laS 

VIII. The Invasion of Pontus and the Pr^torship of 

Crassus 143 

IX. The New Popular Party 159 

X. The Conquest of Armenia and the Financial 

Crisis in Italy 176 

XI. The Fall of Lucullus 186 

XII. Cicero and the Manilian Law .... 303 

XIII. The Egyptian Project 211 

XIV. How C^sAR Became a Demagogue . . . a34_ 
XV. Catiline 339 

XVI. The Return of Pompey and the Trial of Clodius 260 

XVII. The Three-Headed Monster ..... 377 

XVIII. Empire-Building ,,,,,,. 303 


At the end of Vol. II. the reader will find a Bibliography 
explaining the abbreviations used in the footnotes, and four critical 
Appendices : 

I. On the Corn Trade in Antiquity. 

a. On the Chronology of the Campaigns of LucuUus. 

3, The Relations of Crassus, Pompey and Csesar between 70 

and 60 B.C. 

4. The War against the Helvetii and the Suevj. 



Italy in the second half of the fifth century B.C. — The warfare 
between the small republics, and its causes — Rome as a small 
aristocratic and agricultural State — Its condition amid this 
warfare — The famUy organisation — Conservative spirit of the 
nobility — Rigidly aristocratic and republican government and 
institutions — Rome's early wars at the head of the Latin Con- 
federacy, fifth and fourth centuries B.C. — Their results — In- 
crease of territory, foundation of colonies, conclusion of 
alliances, increase of State and private resources — Abundance 
of slaves, diffusion of prairie pasturage, increase of precious 
metals— Gradual growth of luxury, fidelity to old ways of 
life, consolidation of the old landlord aristocracy — The vic- 
torious wars of the fourth and third centuries — Rome wins 
the political supremacy of Italy — Rural and aristocratic 
society at its zenith — Its virtues and defects — Conquest of 
Magna Grascia^ — First Punic War and conquest of Sicily — 
First signs of the trading spirit — The first middlemen-con- 
tractors — The nobility begin to engage in speculation — Be- 
ginnings of literature — First appearance of a democratic party 
— Caius Flaminius and the conquest of the Po Valley — ^The in- 
vasion of Haimibal — Strength and weakness, losses and gains, 
of Rome in the Second Punic War. 

In the second half of the fifth century before Christ Rome was Rome in 
still an aristocratic community of free peasants, occupying an *^°"''"' 
area of nearly 400 square miles,* with a population, certainly 
not exceeding 150,000,! almost entirely dispersed over the 

* Cf. Beloch, I. B., 29 ff. 69. 

t It is true that according toLivy.iii. 24, thecensusof 459B.c.couhted 
117,319 citizens, which would give a free population of about 400,000. 
But these figures do not seem to me probable, for the following reasons : 
(l) If Rome had at that time had as many as 120,000 soldiers, she 
would not have experienced so much difficulty in conquering the small 
neighbouring peoples. (2) A population of over 1000 inhabitants to 
the square mile could not possibly have subsisted, no matter how 
poor, at a time when Rome lived entirely on the produce of the land. 
(3) These figures do not agree with others which are more certain. 
If there were 165,000 citizens on a territory of 1045 square miles 
in 339 B.C., and 260,321 citizens on 1606 square miles in 293 b.c. 

I I A 


450-400 B.C. countryside and divided into seventeen districts or rural 
Tribes. Most of the families had a small holding and cottage 
of their own, where father and sons lived and worked together, 
growing corn for the most part, with here and there a strip of 
vine or olive. Their few head of cattle were kept at pasture 
on the neighbouring common land ; their clothes and simple 
implements of husbandry they made for themselves at home. 
Only at rare intervals and on special occasions would they make 
their way into the fortified town which was the centre 
at once of their religion and their government. Here 
were the temples of the gods, the houses of the wealthy, 
and the shops of the artisans and traders, where corn, oil or 
wine could be bartered in small quantities for salt or rough 
tools and weapons of iron. Every Roman landowner was 
assigned according to his means to one of five classes, which 
were further subdivided into Centuries ; by contributing his 
vote to the vote of his Century, which counted for one in the 
Assembly of the Centuries or Comitia Centuriata, he took part 
in legislation and in the election of the chief magistrates of 
the Republic. 

Tte Yet although all the State oflSces were elective the con- 

he knights stitution of Rome was doubly aristocratic. As they 
an thepUbs. jgcended from the poorer to the richer classes, the Centuries 
contained a proportionately smaller number of electors ; and 
the higher magistracies were by a hereditary privilege reserved 
for a small number of patrician families, who could boast the 
possession of wider lands, more numerous herds and a certain 
number of slaves. The sons of Senators, together with plebeians 
of sufficient wealth and distinction, formed a separate order, in- 
termediate between nobility and plebs. They were recognised 
by the State as Knights, and amongst their other privileges was 
that of serving in the cavalry in time of war. The plebeians 
too had organisations and privileges of their own. They held 
local meetings in their districts for the discussion of their 
particular interests : and every year they appointed Tribunes 
of the People, whose persons were inviolable, and who had the 

(Beloch. I. B. 89), assuming the density of population to have been the 
same, Rome in 459 B.C. would have numbered some 60,000 citizens 
and 190,000 free men. But the density must have been less, as the 
country was poorer and less civilised : it follows, therefore, that we 
cannot account at the outside limit for more than 150,000 men and 
45,000 citizens, which would give an army slightly larger than the 
20,000 suggested by Mommsen. Any higher estimate seems im- 


power of putting a veto upon any action of the magistrates. 450-400 b.c. 
Moreover, the Assembly of the Centuries had a rival in the 
Assembly of the Tribes, a body consisting of all who were 
enrolled in the seventeen rural Tribes and in the four city 
Tribes which comprised the scanty voting population of Rome.* 
The Tribes superseded the Centuries, not only for the election 
of some of the less important magistrates, but for the transac- 
tion of current affairs. The chief power, however, still rested 
with the patricians, who were peasants like their fellows, and 
not above handling the pick and the plough.t The ordinary 
patrician dweUing was small and rude, their fare homely, and 
their clothes of the simplest ; they possessed little of the 
precious metals, and almost everything that they needed, both 
in food and clothing, was made at home by their women- 
folk and slaves. 

It was little enough, therefore, that Rome required to buy Early Roman 
from abroad. Terracottas for the decoration of her public 
buildings and some imports of metal came in from Etruria, 
Phoenicia and Carthage, besides ivory work and ornaments, 
perfumes for funerals, purple for the ceremonial robes of the 
magistrates, and a few slaves. It was not difficult to pay for these 
in exports ; timber for shipbuilding and salt practically made 
up the list. J The city itself was small and poor : even the 
rich patricians spent most of their time in the country, and 
came to town only for their official duties or to attend the 
sittings of the Senate, of which past magistrates, on the nomina- 
tion at first of the Consuls and later of the Censors, were made 
life members. The power of the Senate included the super- 
intendence of the magistrates, the administration of the 
treasure, the ratification of the laws and elections made by 
the Assemblies of the Centuries and the Tribes,§ and the discus- 
sion of the not infrequent question of peace and war. 

For the whole of Italy, up to Liguria, Emilia, and the Warfare 
Romagna, which were still, like the Po Valley, peopled by '° "^^' 

* Cf. the observations of Mommsen, R. F., i. 185, on the enactments 
of the Valerio-Horatian Laws of 449. 

+ Val. Max., iv.4 and 5. PUny, H. N., xviii. 3,19. C/. Marquardt, 
V. P. R. 2, 194. 

X SchiUer-Voigt, 291. Voigt. J. N. 2, 552, 557 ; Ciccotti, T. S., 146 ff. 

§ I need not here deal with the question of the auctoritas senaius 
over the Assembly of the Tribes in the earliest times, a matter which is 
still sub jiidice. It is a detail of no great impdrtance in a rapid account 
of ancient Rome, and one which it would be unprofitable to discuss 
at length. 



450-400 B.C. tribes of savage Celts and Ligurfans, was dotted with fortified 
strongholds similar to Rome itself, guarding the course of 
the rivers, keeping watch over the countryside from their 
rough hill-tops, barring the clefts of the mountains, or standing 
up as far-seen landmarks to the trader in his small vessel out 
at sea. The constitution of these small hill-communities was 
sometimes aristocratic and sometimes popular, but very 
seldom monarchical ; each possessed a certain extent of terri- 
tory ; and many of them formed part of confederations drawn 
together by race or langauge — such as that of the Osco-Sabel- 
lians in the South, of the Latins, Etruscans and Umbrians in 
Central Italy, and of the groups of Greek colonies along the 
coast, with their centres at Ancona, Taranto and Naples. 
But these forms of union were of little avail to keep the peace. 
AH through the peninsula, from township to township, between 
the upland and the plain, the river valleys and the sea, there 
was a continual warfare between tribe and tribe. It was fed 
by all the incitements that rouse savage races to arms in every 
age — the demand for more land and slaves, the desire for 
precious metals, the spirit of adventure and ambition among 
the chiefs or a fighting temper among the people, and the 
urgent necessity for aggression as a security against attack and 

Like the townships all round her, Rome too had become in- 
volved in this interminable contest. Indeed, she was exposed 
to even greater dangers than the majority of her neighbours. 
Though she had succeeded in grouping about her in a con- 
federation the small rural republics of Latium which shared 
her Latin tongue, she still remained in a condition of perilous 
weakness. Her army consisted simply of her small proprietors 
in arms, under the command of their wealthier neighbours : 
for the man who owned no land had not the right to be a soldier. 
All landowners between the ages of seventeen and forty-six — 
and these at the middle of the fifth century B.C. must have 
numbered about 30,000 — were obUged to present themselves 
before the Consul whenever a levy was proclaimed, ready 
to be grouped into legions and to take the field under the 
orders of their patrician magistrates. 

Debt-slavery. But a bitter hostihty was gradually growing up between 
rich and poor. The population of their small territory 
was increasing too fast, and continual wars brought ruin 
and devastation in their train,, while the excessive cultiva- 
tion of cereals was slowly exhausting the richness of the soil. 

The Roman 
military sys- 
tem and its 


Moreover, the unfortunate small landowners were being 450-400 b.c. 
burdened with debt ; while the nobility, whose numbers were 
increasing at an equal rate, continued to appropriate to them- 
selves the best of the lands taken from the enemy, and to increase 
their herds of cattle on the pubHc pastures, till they gradually 
deprived the poor altogether of their use. They had also been 
tempted into a practice which led to far-reaching abuses ; 
they lent money at usury to the poorer proprietors and then 
reduced them to slavery on non-payment, in accordance with 
the ancient law of nexum. There was enmity too between 
the rich plebeians and the patricians ; for the plebeians were 
still jealously excluded from the magistracies. All this led 
to constant quarrels and rioting between the different factions, 
sometimes even to a temporary split in the State, which not 
even the imminence of war was always able to appease. 

Yet once at the head of the Latin Confederation, Rome Early Roman 
gradually brought the other towns and confederations of Italy *"*"*''■ 
within her power. The cause of her success lay in the vigorous 
discipline of her Constitution, which was strong enough to 
control that spirit of self-indulgence which is the most powerful 
solvent of national life. It was this that maintained a pure and 
simple morality among her rich and powerful class, which 
would have been the first to succumb to the vanity and vice 
that too frequently attend on the pride of conquest. 

The Romans were a primitive people without the defects 
peculiar to a primitive people. This was what enabled them 
to conquer nations more civihsed than themselves which had 
been weakened by the temptations incident to their superior 
culture. Ancient Roman society may perhaps fitly be com- 
pared to life in one of the monastic orders in the middle ages. 
Both systems display the same methodical combination of 
example and precept, of mutual vigilance and unremitting 
discipline. Both show us a community in which the in- 
dividual is entirely at the mercy of the feelings and opinions 
of his fellows, and where it is impossible for him to become 
emancipated from the tyranny of the group. Both succeeded 
in drawing out from their members, in the narrow sphere 
allotted to their labours, an energy, a devotion and a self- 
control far greater than could be expected from any one of 
them in his individual capacity. In early Rome, everything 
conspired to maintain and increase among the upper classes 
the influence of this powerful and minutely organised system. 
We find it in the distribution of wealth, in religion, in the 

The Roman 


450-400 B.C. public institutions, in the severity of the legal code : we find 
it in a public opinion which demanded a relentless exercise 
of authority by fathers against their children or by husbands 
against their wives. We find it above all in the family, which 
gave the earliest and most deep-felt lessons in this stern and 
difficult discipline of the spirit. 

The Roman family was at this time in many ways stiU a rehc of 
the patriarchal age ; each household was a miniature absolutism 
that had survived the incoming of the aristocratic republic and 
adapted itself to the new needs of the age. Much of the effort 
required to maintain the moral and political order of society 
could be exerted, more efficiently than by the official magistrates, 
within the narrow circle of family authority. Thus, in fact 
if not in name, the household was a real and very necessary 
organ of government. The father was an absolute monarch in 
his own house ; he alone could buy or sell, hold property or 
make contracts. He could exact as full an obedience from 
his son as from his servant, whatever the age or office he had 
attained. He could turn a rebeUious child from his door, 
reduce him to penury, sell him as a slave or condemn him to 
work in the fields ; he could claim childlike obedience from 
a Consul who returned home from a victorious campaign. 
He was supreme judge over wife, children, grandchildren 
and slaves ; and the stern ordinance of custom might even 
require him to send them to their death for an offence against 
the family, or a neighbour, or the State.* 

With powers such as these it was for a long time easy for 
parents, as each new generation grew up, to repress that youth- 
ful spirit of innovation which is in all ages the main source 
both of perversion and of progress ; to train up their children 
in their own image and likeness ; to accustom the boys to 
reverence and purity, to labour and sobriety, to the careful 
observance of laws and customs and of a narrow but tenacious 
patriotism, and to instruct them in the main precepts of 
domestic economy and agriculture ; to teach the girls to live 
always under the authority of a man, whether father, husband 
or guardian, without the right to possess property, not even a 
dowry, to be gentle, obedient, and chaste, attentive only 
to housework and children ; and to inculcate, in boys and girls 
alike, a scrupulous reverence for tradition, a loyal devotion 

* Dion. Hal., ii. 25-27. Bonfante, D. R., 1 5 1 ff. Fustel de Coulanges, 
C. A„ 100-105. Lange, R. A., i., 95 £f. Cf. the interesting case of 
C; Flaminius, Cic. de Inv., ii. 17, 52 ; Val. Max., v. 45. 

Early Roman 


to the old morality, and a horror of all innovation or luxury. 450-400 b.c. 

It was the family which taught even the richer Roman, from 

the days of his youth, to be content with small enjoyments, 

to keep pride and vanity in check, to own submission, not to 

another man like himself— for monarchy he abhorred with a 

fanatical loathing — but to the impersonal authority of law 

and custom. It was the family too which taught him how to 

enjoy, and guided him safely through the years of early manhood, 

when man makes his selection among the pleasures of life 

according to the accidents of education and character, holding 

fast] later to the life he has chosen with a contempt born of 

ignorance for all that he has rejected. And woe betide 

the disobedient or rebellious! Father and family tribunal 

would chastise son or wife without mercy : since both tradition 

and example counselled strictness, and it is easy for a judge to 

be severe when from the days of his own childhood he has 

known but little indulgence.* 

After this education, the noble Roman, still in his early The Roman's 
manhood, gained his first experience of war through service in '^"^"■ 
the cavalry : and before long he married a wife who brought him 
a small dowry and was to bear him many children. Then he 
began his long and gradual career of public Hfe, coming before 
the people as a candidate for the diflterent elective offices, 
according to the order prescribed by law. But no one could 
hope to win the suffrages of the people or the subsequent 
approval of the Senate unless he were known to be a respecter 
of tradition. And even in office his power was strictly cir- 
cumscribed. If every Roman magistrate held important 
prerogatives, kept a numerous retinue under his orders, and 
was treated with solemn and ceremonial respect, yet the 
governing power was divided amongst a large number of 
individuals, all offices were unpaid and temporary, generally 
lasting a year, and every holder of office was given a colleague, 
his equal in rank and authority, for mutual supervision : while 
above and controlling them all was the Senate. Thus no magis- 
trate coidd violate a law or a tradition without serious cause ; 
all were obliged to yield in turn the obedience they had claimed ; 
and on their return to private hfe they could be called to 
account for their pubhc actions. From the cradle to the grave 
a Roman was spied on without ceasing ; and when, at the death 

* Fathers not infrequently went so far as to condemn their own 
children to death. Cf. Dion. Hal., -viii. 79. See Di Marzo, 
S. P. C. R., i. 27. 

450-250 B.C 

The £rst 

[Gives sine 


The allied 



of his father, the son became in his turn the absolute ruler of 
the household, he soon found that in the Forum, the Assembly 
and the Senate he was exposed to a supervision no less exact- 
ing than at home. The Censors might strike him off the roll 
of Senators for evil living, the people might refuse to elect 
him to office, and every individual citizen was a potential 

Thanks to this disciphne of her upper classes, Rome was 
able to succeed where the Etruscans had failed, and to rise 
little by little above the other States of Italy. In the second 
half of the fifth century, and the early decades of the fourth 
century B.C., Rome, at the head of the Latin League, engaged 
in a series of wars against the .^qui, Volsci and Etruscans, which 
enabled her, not only, in 387, to institute four new tribes on 
her enlarged territory, but also to found several Latiti colonies 
on 270,000 acres of good land taken from the enemy,* In 
this way many young men of the middle class, whose means 
might otherwise have debarred them from marriage, became 
citizens and proprietors in a new city, governed by laws 
of its own on the Roman model, and subject only to the 
obhgation that her citizens should serve with the Roman 
legions. Encouraged by these first successes Rome was led 
on, during the end of the fourth and the first half of the third 
century, to undertake campaigns against the Samnites, Etrus- 
cans and Sabines, against the rebellious members of the Latin 
League, against the Gauls on the Adriatic coast, and the 
Greek mercenaries of Pyrrhus called in by Taranto. She thus 
annexed a vast territory of nearly 10,500 square miles,t including 
the whole of Latium, part of the eastern and western districts 
of Tuscany, the greater part of Umbria, the Marches and Cam- 
pania, reducing the cities to municifia and their inhabitants 
to citizens obliged to provide military service and the tributum 
or war tax without the privilege of a vote. 

But her influence extended far beyond this area. During 
the whole of this time she was increasing her hold over cities 
and tribes in more distant parts oFthe peninsula. Alliances 
were contracted, sometimes by persuasion, sometimes by force : 
with Naples in 326, with Camerino, Cortona, Perugia, Arezzo, 
in 310, with the Marrucini, the Marsi, the Paeligni and the 
Frentani, in 305, with the Vestini, in 302, and afterwards vnth 
Ancona and Taranto. By the terms of these treaties the towns 

» Beloch, I. B., 149. 

t Id.. 72. 


and tribes, while preserving their own laws and institutions, 450-2 50 b.c. 
undertook to supply Rome with military contingents and to 
consult the Roman Senate in the case of all disputes with other 

These wars had, in short, created a Roman Protectorate The process 
over the whole of Italy, and entailed a considerable increase setuement. 
in the wealth as well as in the power of Rome. Not 
only had the State now far greater revenues at its disposal ; 
it had also acquired a rich domain of fields, pastures and 
forests aU over the peninsula, part of which was let out or 
granted in allotments, while the rest was reserved for future 
needs. Many patrician and plebeian families became wealthy 
through the purchase of slaves and land, laying large estates 
under cultivation in all parts of Italy, partly in corn, partly 
in vine and olive, and employing "families" of slaves under the 
supervision of a slave foreman, helped at vintage and harvest 
time by free day-labourers from the nearest town.* Others 
devoted themselves, more especially on the Common Lands 
of Southern Italy, to pastoral enterprise on a huge and primi- Praine 
tive scale, not unlike what may be seen to-day in Texas and P^'^^'^e"- 
the prairie States of the American Union ; their vast wandering 
herds of oxen and sheep, without stall or pen, grazing and 
sleeping under the open sky all the year round, were driven by 
slave shepherds every summer up to the mountains, and every 
winter down to the plains.t 

Another result of these wars was a very large increase in Trade in the ' 
the supply of precious metals t and in 269 or 268 b.c. Rome meuis!'' 
first coibed silver money.§ The precious metals, always 
eagerly sought after by all peoples, whether barbarous or 
civilised, either as glittering adornments or as a form of wealth 
easy to carry and conceal, were in the ancient world by far the 
most universal object of commerce and barter, and the usual 
means of exchange between peoples on different levels of 
civilisation. Thenceforward the Romans were able to take 
part in international commerce, and to purchase the luxuries 
of HeUenic civilisation, with which, through the Greek colonies 
of Southern Italy, they were now brought into closer contact. || 

* Cf. Cato, de Re Rusticadescri, who bes the estates of a rich noble 
at a time when the transformation of agriculture was just beginning. 
His book gives some idea of the agricultural management of a rich 
landlord in the third century B.C. 

+ Nitzsch, G. v., 16. X Livy, x. 46. SchiUer-Voigt, 294. 

§ Babelon, M. R. R. I,, p. xviii. || SchiUer-Voigt, 287. 

oTtbe old 


450-250 B.C. Thus families of small proprietors multiplied, and lived in 
increased comfort, on the territory of the colonies. 

Consolidation But this increase of wealth did not at first tend to weaken 
the ancient traditions ; nor was it immediately followed either 
by a change in manners or by a political revolution. The 
thrift and simplicity of the old times were still the proudest 
virtues of every noble family. The growth of prosperity, 
while it neither refined the mass nor multiphed the enjoyments 
of the individual, augmented and consolidated the strength of 
the State, both for peace and for war. It concentrated the 
power in a strong military aristocracy of rich landowners, 
fashioned in the mould of the traditional education ; and it 
helped to conquer new territories and to pepple them with 
Latin cultivators and Latin soldiers. 

Concessions \l No doubt, as the middle ranks of society grew in numbers, 

totiiepiebs. > prosperity and influence, the governing class was slowly recon- 
stituted and the State became more democratic ; but the change 
took place slowly and steadily, without any violent upheaval. By 
acquiring riches and employing them in the pubHc interest 
many plebeian families became so influential that the patri- 
cians, whose wealth and numbers were now proportionately 
diminished, were compelled to recover their fortunes and 
retain their powers by frankly welcoming the rich middle 
class into their midst, intermarrying with their famihes and 
allowing them a share in the government. As early as 
421 plebeians had been allowed to reach the lowest rung 
in the ladder of office, the Quaestorship ; they thus received 
the power, as urban Quaestors, to prosecute all who were 
accused of capital offences, to administer the pubhc treasure, 
and keep charge over certain of the pubUc documents ; or, as 
military Quaestors, to manage the finances of the army and 
direct the commissariat. In 367 it was further decided that 
there should be one plebeian among the two Consuls, the 
first magistrates of the State, who were responsible for con- 
vening the Senate and the Assemblies, controlled the elections 
of the magistrates by the admission or rejection of candidates, 
and raised the levies and commanded the armies in time of 
war. In 365 plebeians were admitted to be Curule ^Ediles, 
to regulate the price and superintend the sale of cereals, to 
look to the preservation of pubhc monuments, the policing 
of streets, markets, and open spaces, and the ordering of pubUc 
festivals. In 350 they were admitted to the Dictatorship and 
the Censorship. The Dictatorship was an extraordinary 


magistracy by means of which, at moments of exceptional crisis, 450-250 b.c. 
the Constitution might for a time be suspended and full powers 
entrusted to a single man. The Censorship was an ordinary 
magistracy, held jointly by two persons, who compiled the 
quinquennial census of the names and goods of citizens and 
municipes, arranged the contracts for public works, super- 
intended their construction and the recovery of taxes, and 
watched over the private character of public men, striking oil 
the roU of Senators and Knights any who had proved themselves 
unworthy, or, in the case of a plebeian, taking away his poUtical 
rights. In 337 even the Prxtorship was opened to plebeians : 
the Praetors being the oflScials who judged civil cases between 
Romans or between Romans and foreigners, and filled the 
place of the Consuls when they were absent or disabled. Thus 
the old hereditary and exclusive aristocracy was gradually 
transformed into a mixed nobUity of rich proprietors, who felt 
no difficulty in making concessions to the democratic spirit 
of the middle class, as it grew in importance with its increase 
in wealth and numbers. \J 

It was not long before the plebeian Praetors began to extend Thepowers of 
the legislative powers of the Assembly of the Tribes, in which Tribnul'*'* 
the middle class played a more important part than in the 
Assembly of the Centuries. The Senate was forced to give its 
opinion on a proposal before and not after the popular assem- 
blies ;* and by the Lex Hortensia, in 286, the resolutions of 
the Assembly of the Plebs received the sanction of law even 
without ratification by the Senate. Thus the Assembly of 
the Tribes entirely escaped from the control of the Senate, 
while about 241 the Assembly of the Centuries was reformed 
in such a way as to deprive the rich of much of their former 
influence. Finally, in more than one case the franchise was 
granted to cives sine suffragio — in 268 to the Sabines of Rieti, [Reate.] 
Norcia and Amiterno, and about 241 to the people of Picenum [NarsU.] 
and Velletri.f 

Yet the constitution of the Republic remained fundamentally The cUent 
aristocratic ; for the new mixed nobility of patricians and '^y*"- 
plebeians well understood how to retain their predominant 
position. They checked the growth of a strong democratic 
opposition, such as we find in nearly every other ancient 
city State, by their striking military successes, their sound 
public administration, and by a wide system of dependence and 

* Mommsen, R. F., i. 157. WiUems, S. R. R., ii. 73. 
t Beloch, I. B.. 123. 

350-250 BX 

The Latin 


The First 
Punic War. 


• patronage for the benefit of the middle class. Each of the 
rich senatorial families regarded it as a sacred duty to give help 
in money and influence to certain proteges among the middle 
class, and even to make it easy for any one who from time to 
time displayed exceptional courage or intelligence to climb the 
ladder of office to the ranks of the nobility.* 

Thus safely shielded by the patronage of a conservative 
nobihty the populace continued in the simple manners of their 
ancestors : they were stiU a body of sturdy and prolific yeomen, 
who spent the larger part of their scanty gains in bringing up 
new and more numerous generations of peasants and soldiers. 
This was the process by which, in the fourth and third cen- 
turies B.C., Rome diffused through the peninsula not merely 
her laws and her influence but her blood and her language: 
and was enabled, between 334 and 264, to found eighteen 
powerful Latin colonies, including Venosa, Lucera, Psestum, 
Benevento, Narni, Rimini and Fermo, thus dispersing through- 
out the whole of Italy a race of stalwart Latin cultivators, who 
continued to. increase on the new lands on which they settled, 
and to multiply the number of Latin-speaking folk amid the 
bewildering medley of Italian stocks and languages. These Latin 
yeomen devoted themselves alternately to the toil of the fields 
and the hardships of campaigning, regarding their pay in war 
time and the prize money they received from their com- 
manders as a welcome addition to what they derived from their 
fields, and war itself as an industry complementary to agricul- 
ture. This continuous effort of war and conquest, lasting 
through several centuries, could only be successfully sustained 
because, thanks to the moral discipline and conservative spirit 
of her nobility, Rome remained, through all these campaigns, 
an agricultural, aristocratic and military community. The 
only durable conquests, even in ages of barbarism, are conquests 
made with the plough ; the land belongs, not to adventurers 
who stain it with fierce and purposeless warfare, but to colo- 
nists to whom victory is but the prelude to the work sowing 
and tilling and peopling the earth. 

It was with these peasant soldiers that the Roman nobihty 
formed a skeleton of cities in the body which was later to be 
Italy, not exhausting but extending the powers of their State. 
It was with these that Rome issued victorious from her first 
struggle with Carthage, the great trading power whose ex- 

* A typical instance is that of Cato the Censor. Cf. Plutarch, Cat. 
M., i. and 3. 


pansion brought her inevitably into collision with the niilitary 250-200 b.c. 

and agricultural expansion of her Italian rival ; and with these 

that a little later, from 225-222, she waged the decisive struggle 

with the Gauls of Italy, which laid open to her, with the 

conquest of the basin of the Po, the high-road of her future 


The boundaries of her dominions were enlarged, not by The old 
any bold or comprehensive effort of genius, but by the more chstfaSer. 
methodical forces of patience and tenacity, (if by the end of 
the third century B.C. Rome had become paramount in Italy, 
it was because the most admired virtues in every class of her 
State were those that are distinctive of a weU-discipHned rural 
community. The Roman was sober and self-restrained in all 
his habits and simple in aU his ideas and customs. He 
had a deep and loving knowledge of the small world in 
which he lived and a quiet and imperturbable intensity of 
purpose. He was honest, loyal, persevering, and displayed 
that curious absence of excitability so characteristic of a man 
who has no vices, who does not waste his strength in self- 
indulgence, and has but a limited stock of knowledge. In 
such a world ideas made but slow progress ; novelties, un- 
less they came in the guise of religion, found difficult entry ; 
genius, like madness or crime, or any other unrecognised 
eccentricity, was entirely suppressed ; custom, experience 
and superstition seemed the supremest forms of wisdom. 
Law and rehgion, both strictiy formal, were held in the highest 
honour, preserving and crystaUising among their distant 
grandchildren the cherished beliefs that had delighted or 
deluded the sagacity of their ancestors. Greek philosophy 
and every form of general theory were neglected. The 
literary language was rude and unfixed ; the scanty Hterature 
consisted of a few hymns and folk-songs in Saturnian metre, 
and of such primitive forms of dramatic composition as Fes- 
cennine verses, " saturse " and mimes. Thus eventually, by 
the last quarter of the third century b.c, the Romans found 
themselves in control of a vast territory with a population 
of nearly six millions, from which they could have raised at 
need no less than 770,000 soldiers, horse ^nd foot : 273,000 
citizens, 85,000 Latins, and 412,000 aUies.*) 

But no influence in human affairs mates permanently or 
uniformly for good or for evil. It was in obedience to this 
law of constant change — a law which seems to be the one 
* Polyb., ii. 24. Cf. Beloch, I. B., 94 f. 


250-zooB.c. constant element in human society and history, — that, towards 
the middle of the third century, through the increase of wealth 
The mercantile and the continuance of victory, this spirit of discipline and 
mddiemen-'" ^ural simplicity began to show symptoms of decKne._ The 
contractors, conquest of Magna Graecia, of the greater part of Sicily, of 
Corsica and Sardinia, the successful campaigns in Illyria, 
in Gaul, and against Carthage, had increased both income and 
expenditure. It had become necessary to provision great 
armies at a distance, and to build fleets. But as the Roman 
State, with its limited number of magistrates, originally intended 
to supply the needs of a small country town, was quite unable 
to cope with such extensive pubUc needs, it became usual 
to entrust them to private contractors ; and thus, between the 
two Punic Wars, there rapidly grew up out of the middle ranks 
of society a class of men who seem destined to be the first 
purveyors of luxury and commercial greed in all agricultural 
societies, as they were, for instance, in Italy after 1848, — 
the class of middlemen-contractors.* After the conquest of 
Sicily, the commerce of that island, which exported large 
quantities of oil and corn, naturally passed from the Car- 
thaginians to the merchants of Rome and Italy .t The Roman 
aristocrats, who had till then been unwilling to hold property 
in anything but land, became infected vnth the desire to 
imitate the trading nobility of Carthage, which they had 
just defeated ; they too began to launch their argosies, to 
speculate in SiciHan exports,! and to live in afHuence. Social 
simplicity began to be impaired and domestic discipline to 
loosen its bonds. The family council was more rarely sum- 
[Pecuiium moned ; sons, thanks to the proceeds of campaigning, became 
castrense.] more independent of their fathers, women less submissive to hus- 
bands or guardians ; the nobihty neglected its duties towards the 
middle class ; in a few great families Greek culture was already 
spreading, whUe the literature and the literary language of 
Rome were being slowly perfected. Andronicus, a Greek of 
Taranto, taken prisoner at the capture of his native town in 
272 and sold to a certain Livius, who gave him his freedom, 
translated the Odyssey into Saturnian verse, opened a school of 
Greek and Latin at Rome, and was the first to succeed in the 

* According to Livy, xxiii. 48, 11, it appears that iu 215 wealthy 
contractors were ahready numerous at Rome. Cf. xxiii. 49, i, and 
XXV. 3, 12. 

t Polyb., i. 83. 10, shows that between the First and Second Punic 
Wars the number of Italian merchants was already considerable. 

% Livy, xxi. 63. The reference here can only be to trade with Sicily. 


translation or adaptation of Greek comedies and tragedies, 250-200 b.c. 
and in the application of Greek metres to Latin versification. 
He soon found a follower in Naevius, a Roman citizen from 
Campania, who wrote a poem on the Punic War. 

The new spirit was fatal to the old friendly co-operation Caius 
between class and class. A selfish and grasping nobihty that ^'*°"°"'*- 
looked to Carthage for its model inevitably provoked popular 
(^position. The first great leader to fight the battles of the 
Roman democracy was Caius Flaminius. When, in 232, 
Flaminius proposed to assign to the plebs a part of the Adriatic 
coastland taken from the Senones in 283 and from the Piceni 
in 268, he had to overcome a violent opposition on the part of 
the great nobles, who probably preferred to keep the rents of 
these lands for themselves. And when the Gauls on both 
banks of the Po took alarm at this policy and stirred up against 
Rome the great war of 225-222, which ended in the conquest 
of the Po Valley and the foundation of Piacenza and Cremona, [Piacentia.] 
the nobles were the first to lay the blame on Flaminius. Yet 
but a few years before they had themselves threatened Carthage 
vdth a fresh war for the annexation of Sardinia and Corsica, 
in which they looked to find the profits of a second Sicily.* 

In the Gallic War, for the first but not the last time in The democracy 
Roman history, the people, not the nobles, were the aggressors, guest of the' Po 
It was the democracy that cast its eyes upon the great plain ^aUey. 
that stretches at the foot of the Alpine barrier — a plain rich 
in fresh and fertile soU, covered with immense oak forests and 
huge tracts of marsh and lakeland, dotted with Celtic villages, 
watered by hurrying streams which bring down the gold of 
the Alps in their sand, and traversed from end to end by the 
great river which to the Romans, accustomed to the small 
mountain torrents of Central Italy, must have seemed a very 
prodigy. No noble of great lineage, but the head of the 
popular party, gave his name to the first great road, the Via 
Flaminia, that joined Rome to the Valley of the Po, and guided 
unconscious generations of her citizens outside her narrow 
city walls towards a mysterious future. The old aristocratic, 
agricultural and military society was nearing the limit of its 
greatness. If it was to play a further part in history 
it must be through a transformation of its character and 

But all these elements of discord were speedily overshadowed 
when in 218 Hannibal descended from the Alps into the Valley 
* Cf. Lange, R. A., U. 135, fi. 


218-203 B.C. of the Po, at the head of the army with which the Carthaginian 

plutocracy hoped to destroy their upstart rival. To invade 

Hannibal a country which could raise 700,000 men at need, with a 

ftaliins. Comparatively small force operating at an immense distance 

from its base, was a feat of almost incredible daring. But the very 

fact that the issue remained doubtful for years is clear proof 

of the inherent weakness of the federation of rural republics 

that had Rome for its head. Where the mode of life — of 

feeling and thinking and holding property-— is not identical, 

where, in a word, there is not one definite type of civilisation 

common at least to the upper and middle classes, there can be 

no organic nation, but only an accumulation of individuals 

held together for a time by the discipline of force. Now the 

agricultural and military aristocracy of ancient Rome had 

been able to diffuse its civilisation over but a small part of 

Italy. The dispersion of small Latin proprietors in colonies 

and municipia connected Rome with many regions of Italy 

by the ties of language, tradition and policy ; but the colonies 

and municipia did not at that time cover even one half of the 

territory of Italy. The rest of the country was in the hands of 

allied cities, agricultural and aristocratic repubUcs for the most 

part, which maintained a vigorous local life of their own 

almost entirely undisturbed by the central power. The 

Romans had indeed done their best, especially in Etruria and 

Southern Italy, to protect the territorial nobility, and had 

made them the supporters of the Roman cause in the aUied 

cities ; they had put an end to their murderous feuds, set 

them in command of contingents levied among the sturdy 

race of yeomen, and provided them with the means of winning 

distinction in war, of increasing both their wealth and their 

influence among their own countrymen. Thus it happened 

that the great families of Etruria and Southern Italy were 

bound by ties of hospitaHty, friendship, and sometimes even 

of blood to the foremost houses of Rome ; and they were proud 

of it. They gladly learnt the Latin language and affected an 

admiration for the great city and its institutions, for the ideas 

and manners of its nobility.* But the people among whom 

they lived continued each to speak its own national tongue, 

and to keep ahve the memories of old days, now wrapped in 

the halo of an irrevocable past. Possibly Hannibal may have 

* For some instances of such patronage and friendship, cf. Livy, 

xxiii. IS, 7 ft.; xxiii. 2; xxiii. 46, 12. Cf. especially the case of the 

noble Samnite who fought for Rome in the Second Punic War at the 

head of a regiment, Livy, xxii. 24. 


had some inkling of this widespread sentiment; perhaps he 201 b.c. 
dimly understood that Italy was not yet a nation, but a con- 
federation of little States many of which lived their own life 
by themselves, connected with the central power by only the 
loosest of bonds. His policy, at any rate, gives colour to the 
supposition. By promises, stratagems, or threats he persuaded 
many of the alUed cities to revolt, while the Roman citizens and 
Latin colonists, welded together by the common danger into 
a true nation of aristocratic peasant-soldiers, heroically de- 
fended the land that their fathers had conquered, tilled and 
peopled, against the champion of the arrogant plutocracy 
of Carthage. 

Rome conquered in the end ; for the solid virtues of many Results of the 
generations of mediocrity prevailed over the fortuitous and wl?.°^ ''"""^ 
personal greatness of genius. But the old order, broken down 
by nearly a generation of fighting, could no more be recon- 
stituted. In the tension of so unprecedented an effort, 
in the crisis of a war that lasted seventeen years, and not in 
Italy only, but in Spain, Greece, Sicily and Africa, Rome 
unlearnt much of her pedantic and superstitious conservatism. 
She had consumed all her reserves both of public and private 
wealth, as well as the vast plunder of Syracuse and Carthage ; 
she had improved her military organisation and equipment ; 
she had gained new opportunities for commercial enterprise ; 
and she had relaxed the strictness with which she kept watch 
over her conduct. The observance of many pohtical tradi- 
tions, and of a few laws, such as that concerning the age and 
succession of magistracies, was indefinitely suspended. The 
old-fashioned prudence made way for a new spirit of adventure, 
whose typical embodiment was Publius Scipio. Only thus 
was it possible to bring the great war to a conclusion. Its 
results seemed a sufficient justification of the policy that 
produced them — the suzerainty of Spain, and the complete 
mastery of Sicily : the confiscation of part of the rich territory 
of Campania and Leontini : the ruin of Capua, and the weaken- 
ing of dl the non-Latinised Italian peoples : the 120,000 pounds 
of silver that Scipio brought home from Africa, and the annual 
tribute of 200 talents of silver that was imposed on Carthage 
for the next half century. 



The wars in Macedonia, Spain, Liguria and the Po Valley, 
during the ten years after the conclusion of peace with Car- 
thage — Political and financial significance of these wars — The 
feeUng against annexation — Scipio and the new foreign policy 
— The war against Antiochus of Syria — Rapid growth of 
public and private treasure — Importance of pubUc works and 
the provision of military supplies — The tax-farmers — Specula- 
tion on the public land — The pastures — Rise in the standard 
of comfort — Increase of trade between Italy and the East — 
Many Romans and Italians engage in commerce — Prosperity 
of Delos — Increase of the population of Rome — The rural 
exodus — Increased demand for slaves — Extension of the slave 
trade — Rapid growth of capitalism — Change in public opinion 
at Rome— Decline of the old conservative nobility — Weaken- 
ing of the family — Relaxation of morals and pubUc feeling — 
The struggle between tradition and the new foreign policy — 
Progress of literature and education — Ennius, Plautus, 
Pacuvius — Diffusion of Greek philosophy — The war against 
Perseus and its results — First symptoms of a crisis in Italian 
agriculture — Impoverishment and corruption of the aristo- 
cracy — Growing power of the financiers — Progress of the 
democratic spirit and consequent lack of discipline in the 
army — The Spanish war — Its military scandals and their 
effect on public opinion — Schemes of reform — The destructiou 
of Carthage and Corinth — Conquest of Greece and Macedonia 
— Conquest of the Golden Fields near VerceUi — Pessimism 
among the upper classes with regard to the condition of Rome 
about 150 B.C. — The will of Attains of Pergamus — MeteUus 
Macedonicus and the first Greek artists at Rome — Publius 
Scipio .^milianus — Reform movement among the upper classes. 

Hannibal's The Second Punic War opens a new period of the world's 
warfare! °' history : for it hastened the advent of the commercial era 
in a society which had hitherto been military and agricultural. 
The conclusion of peace with Carthage left Rome with a heavy 
burden of warfare. Spain teemed with unsubdued barbarians ; 
in the Po Valley the passing of Hannibal had rekindled the old 
spirit of independence ; Ligurian pirates infested the water- 
ways between Italy and the West, and raided the coasts of 


Gaul and Spain ; and Philip, King of Macedon, had taken 200-191 b.c. 
up the challenge on behalf of Carthage. But the bloodiest 
struggle of all was over the regions now known as Emilia and 
Romagna, where the Boii revived in 200 B.C., and carried on 
for ten years without intermission, a harassing warfare of 
ambuscades and surprises, insincere negotiations and treacher- 
ous outbreaks. Finally, in 191, when their nobihty had been 
practically wiped out, their country devastated from end to 
end, and the whole population capable of bearing arms anni- 
hilated, the survivors surrendered, and Rome was able to 
confiscate half of their territory.* 

Yet these wars were not waged in the spirit of aggression, The new 
but rather with a policy of national defence. At the end of nlaonai 
the Second Punic War a party was formed at Rome, with defence. 
Publius Scipio, the victor of Zama, at its head, which sought to 
oppose the ambitious imperialism which had become pre- 
valent since the first victory over Carthage. It was a very 
natural reaction. The danger to which Italy had been exposed 
during the invasion of Hannibal had dismayed every clear- 
sighted intelligence. It was realised that Rome could not rely 
in an emergency on more than 200,000 citizens ; that a large 
proportion of these, being peasant proprietors, could not be 
kept long under arms at a distance from their homes ; that 
the policy of expansion tended inevitably to be unpopular 
among the middle class of the community, and that a fresh 
revolt of the allies was always a possible contingency. Sicily, 
Sardinia, Corsica, and Spain, with the VaUey of the Po, consti- 
tuted an Empire already too extensive ;t and it was unwise 
to undertake the conquest, government, and protection of 
new and more distant countries. 

Yet this need not imply that Rome must remain inactive. The new 
In spite of the exhaustion in which Hannibal had left her, diplomacy, 
diplomacy could drive home the victories of her army. She 
could adopt a policy of small wars and constant intervention, 
and rely for her profits upon the weakening of her rivals. For 
she could stiU recruit large forces from among the peasant 
clas's for short periods of service ; . she had an excellent miHtary 
system ; in Sicily, Sardinia and Spain she possessed granaries 
which would supply any army at a distance without the risk 

* The history of these wars is epitomised in the following passages 
of Livy : xxxi. 10 and 21 ; xxxii. 7, 26, 29-32 ; xxxiii. 22, 23 ; xxxiii. 
36 ; xxxiv. 46 ; xxxv. 3, 22 ; xxxvi. 38. 

t Mommsen, R.G., i. 177 ; Nitzsch, G.V., 75-88 ; Lange, R.A., ii.189. 

Rome as the 


200-170 B.C. of scarcity at home ; and, if she set her finances in order, she 
could easily raise the sums necessary for operations which 
would very soon bring in far more than they cost. 

These arguments quickly carried the day. Scipio applied 
all his energy to financial reorganisation, and his policy 
resulted in a striking series of successes.* The Macedonian 
War closed without increase of territory. Greece and the 
Greek cities of Asia were liberated from Macedon, and Philip 
was forced to disband almost his entire army and fleet and to 
pay an annual tribute of fifty talents for ten years. Slaves and 
territory, silver and gold came in from the warfare in the Valley 
of the Po, in Spain, and in Liguria ; while the campaign against 
Antiochus (189-183), a direct result of the Macedonian War, 
yielded enormous plunder in precious metals, besides the annual 
tribute of 1000 talents imposed for twelve years on the King 
of Syria. But there were no annexations ; the territory taken 
from Antiochus was divided between Rhodes and Pergamus ; 
and when the Syrian War was followed by an expedition 
against the Galatians, the tribesmen were left in undisturbed 
possession of their country. For thirty years this policy 
dealt successfully with the great States of the East. Pergamus 
was incited against Macedon, Macedon against Syria, Syria 
against Egypt, and every incident was coloured with a show 
of magnanimity. Rome was not fighting for herself, but to 
give liberty to the oppressed. 

But these wars did not fail to leave their mark upon Italy. 
The rapid increase of wealth served to hasten the changes 
in society and manners that had already been beginning half 
a century before. In the looting of cities in Greece and Asia, 
and the devastation of the countryside in the Po Valley and 
Spain, generals learnt a new indulgence towards themselves 
and their men.t Sometimes the legionary traded with the 
native on his own account ; during the Macedonian War there 
were several instances of soldiers who acted as usurers.! Many 
a poor peasant returned home from the wars with a small 
fortune to his credit ; § and if a campaign promised to be 
lucrative, volunteers would flock in from aU parts of Italy.|| 
And where the private soldier drew profit the State drew far 
more. With tribute and plunder the finances were set in order, 
debts were paid, and money lavished on all manner of improve- 

Increase of 
wealth in 

* Lange, R. A., ii. 187. 

J Livy, xxiii. 29. 

II Livy, xxxvii. 4; xlii. 32. ■" 

f Plutarch, Cato, M., 10. 
§ Mommsen, R. G., i. 8io. 


ments. A spirit of spending was in the air ; for the spread 200-170 b.c. 
of Greek culture in some of the noble houses, and a general 
mood of innovation and enterprise, represented in politics by 
the party of Scipio, all tended to encourage a certain magnifi- 
cence of execution. 

The influence of this movement is easUy traceable in the a middie-ciass 
field of home politics. The old policy of land distribution '"' ^'^^ ^ "" ' 
was revived for the benefit of the middle class ; the twelve 
years between 189 and 177 witnessed the founding (besides 
many smaller colonies) of the six large towmships of Bologna, [BononU.} 
Parma, Modena, AquUeia, Lucca, and Luni, in which the [Luc"* '^ 
allotments were made on an unprecedented scale. 187 saw 
the beginning of the ^milian Way, which was to connect [Ariminum.] 
Rimini with Piacenza. In 181 Cato undertook, amongst other "*" '* 
tasks, the completion of the drainage system of Rome. In 
1 80 40,000 Ligurians were transported from their native 
valleys to people the solitudes of Samnium. In 177 the Cassian 
Way was opened for use. The Censorship of 174 was remem- 
bered for the large number of pubhc works undertaken at 
Rome and in the colonies. There was a rapid increase in the 
contracts for public works and military supplies. Applications 
were willingly entertained from young men of the middle class 
who had brought home a little capital from warfare in the 
East or in Spain, and tendered for contracts either alone, or 
with their friends, or with capital borrowed from some wealthy 
citizen who was to share in the profits. As the management 
of these affairs came to be better understood, and contractors 
multiplied at Rome and throughout Italy, they gradually 
developed into an intermediate class of capitahsts, drawing a 
comfortable income from Government enterprise,* some of 
whom had the skiU or the fortune to amass great wealth. 

One of the most profitable forms of investment of course 
was land, in its various productive capacities. There were 

* Cf. the famous passage in Polybius (vi. 17), which is one of the 
most important documents for the history of Roman Imperialism, I 
do not think Deloume {Les manieurs d' argent a Rome. Paris, 1890, 
p. 19 fi.) can have properly understood it. Polybius does not speak 
of great companies of publicani with large numbers of shareholders : 
what he does say is that at Rome there were so many contractors and 
small contracting companies that almost every Roman citizen could 
be said to have a share in these undertakings. Taking into account 
the allusions to contractors in Liw's narrative of the Second Punic 
War, and further the fact that Polybius is describing Rome as it was 
towards the middle of the second century B.C., it is legitimate to con- 
clude that this capitalism was developed by the great public expendi- 
ture in the first half of the century. 


200-170 B.C. many who employed their resources in the purchase of estates 
or the leasing of State mines, forests and plough-land, or 
Land competed for the farming of the Sicilian and Sardinian tribute 

speculation. ^^ ^j^j^g ^f ^.j^g ^q^^j produce of corn, oil and wine), or for the 
[Scriptnra.] tithes or pasture-rights of the State lands. The year after the 
conclusion of peace with Carthage there was already busy 
speculation in the lands of Southern Italy,* which had fallen 
in value owing to the devastations of the war and the death of 
the proprietors ; and later on, as capital and slave-labour 
became more abundant, speculation in the new State lands 
became general throughout the country. With so much land 
now available, many small proprietors among the Latins and 
allies easily secured State allotments t to add to their own 
estates, buying a few slaves for their cultivation with the savings 
of their campaigns ; while the larger capitalists rented huge 
tracts of State land in Italy, or the Po Valley, or Sicily, to pasture 
enormous herds of oxen, swine, sheep and goats, under the 
control of slave shepherds. These great ranches must have been 
especially lucrative during the years of heavy military ex- 
penditure : for the army required large supplies of ham and 
bacon X for rations, leather for tents, and goat-skin for siege 
engines. §. Some of the old Senatorial families and a good many 
private individuals made rapid fortunes, and the Sicilian estates 
proved particularly profitable. || 

But prosperity and the infection of the commercial spirit 
were slowly transforming the old manner of life. Soldiers 
who had seen the secrets of the East, and the contractors and 
landlords who had fed and housed them abroad, could not 
contentedly continue in the fashions of their ancestors. Not 
that the primitive customs of ancient Italy had been greatly 
influenced as yet by the refinements of civilisation; for in 
174 Rome was still looked down upon by the Greeks as an 
overgrown village, wifhout a single fine street or palace or 
monument ; even in the capital the houses of the nobility 
were invariably small and destitute of ornament; and the 
old-fashioned education of the young was still in full force.^ 

* Livy, xxxi. 13. 

t I think it probable that the cultivation of the agar puhlicus by the 
Italians spoken of by Appian (B. C. i. 18) began after the Second Punic 
War, when land, money and slaves were cheap, and there was a general 
spirit of enterprise. 

X Polybius, ii. 15. § Varro, de R. R., ii. 2. 

II Diodorus Sic, xxxiv. fr. 32. 

f Livy, xl. 5 ; Friedlander, D. S. G. R., i. 4, ui. 87 ff. ; Posidonius in 
Ath., vi. 109 (27s). 


Rome was too ignorant as yet to take lessons from Greece. 200-170 b.c. 

But the passion for enjoyment, so long restrained, burst out 

in all the primitive and animal indulgences ; in gluttony and Parvenn 

sensuality, in the craving for violent excitement, and in that '°»°°«"- 

gross form of ostentation and display which marks the first 

blundering efforts of the countryman grown rich. A good 

chef, for instance, could claim an exorbitant wage * ; and the 

frugal meals of earlier times were prolonged into interminable 

banquets, at which the rarest deUcacies were provided ; sausages 

and salt fish from Pontus,t and new wdnes from Greece ; from 

Greece, too, they learnt the art of fattening poultry for the 

table.J Citizens were seen drunk in the pubHc assemblies ; 

and even magistrates were known to make their way to the 

Forum half tipsy, with gleaming eyes, and to break the tenor 

of their business by running to the great wdne jars which the 

aediles had set up in quiet corners of the streets and squares.§ 

High prices were paid for beautiful slaves of both sexes ; and 

the depravities and excitements of Eastern life and worship 

became so popular that in 186 the Senate was obliged to suppress 

the orgies of the Bacchanals, and, five years later, to pass the 

Lex Orchia against banquets.|| Middle-class audiences learnt 

to appreciate translations and adaptations from old Greek 

comedies ; and even the primitive Latin festivals, now only too 

infrequent, would be seasoned with exciting interludes, such as 

shows of wdld beasts or gladiators.lT The Oppian Law against 

luxury was repealed ; and the merchandise of the Orient 

found a ready market at Rome, where parvenus paid enormous 

prices for perfumes, Babylonian carpets, and furniture inlaid 

vidth gold and ivory.** What was done in Rome soon penetrated 

into the country ; for the smaller cities naturally imitated 

the metropolis according to their means, just as the humbler 

local nobifity aped the gluttony and splendour of their Roman 

superiors. The peasant from Umbria or Apulia who had fought 

in the rich lands of the East returned home, like a modern 

conscript disbanded from his regiment, with new ambitions 

and desires. Many a middle-class Italian resented the hard 

* Livy, xxxix. 6. 

t Diod. Sic, xxxvii. 3. Ath., loc. cit. 

I Pliny, H. N., x. 50, 139. 

I Lange, R. A., ii. 242. Cf. Macr. Sat., iii. 16, iii. 17, 2. These 
passages, dating from 161, describe the cuhuination of abuses which 
were just beginning at the time described in the text. 

II Diod. Sic, xxxvii. 3, 5. Lange, R. A., ii. 228. 
IT Friedlander, Dg S. G. R., ii. 390; ii. 359- 

*• Livy, xxxiv. i fi. Plautus Stich., ii. 2, 52 ff. 

of trade. 


200-170 B.C. work which his father had pretended to enjoy, and would go 
to the wars with a servant to carry his pack and prepare 
his meals,* or buy more slaves for his farm to save working 

AH this was an added stimulus to home and foreign trade, 
and commercial expansion followed as usual in the wake of 
conquest. The general growth of luxury among the middle 
and wealthy classes gave employment to artisans, and oppor- 
tunities of profit to all possessors of capital. Both at Rome 
and throughout Italy there were hundreds of ex-soldiers and 
camp followers who had visited foreign countries and observed 
their resources, and were now pressed into the ranks of trade 
by the abundance of capital, the increasing demand for Asiatic 
products, and the extension of the Roman power in the Medi- 
terranean. Many of these sold the lands of their fathers to 
purchase a ship ; some, mostly it appears from South Italy, 
established themselves from 192 onwards at Delos, opening 
depots of Asiatic goods for Italian buyers, who came for a mixed 
cargo, and found it easier to make Delos than Corinth or 
Rhodes f ; others traded between Delos and Rome, or in the 
Western Mediterranean. Numbers of smaU dockyards sprang 
up on the Italian coastline, and heavy rents were paid for the 
State forests of Sila, which supplied pitch for shipbuilding.! 
Even members of the Senatorial nobility joined in the profits 
of maritime trade by lending the necessary capital to citizens 
or freedmen. § 

Meanwhile at Rome the first public baths were opened 
soon after the Second Punic War,|| and the year 174 saw the 
establishment of the first bakehouse for the benefit of un- 
married tradesmen and labourers who could not get their 
bread made at home by slaves.H Many Greek workmen were 
brought to Rome by returning generals to assist in their festivals 
and triumphs.** So much foreign money came into circulation 
in the capital that many jewellers became money-changers ; 
and many of these money-changers, encouraged by their 
profits and by the cheapness of capital, became regular bankers, 
accepting deposits and making loans. Multitudes of foreigners 
and Italians opened taverns and baths, set up as cobblers, 
dyers, jewellers and tailors ft; or became theatrical managers 

Its effect 
upon the 

* Plut., Paul. JEm., xxii. 2. 
J Cicero, Brut., xxii. 85. 
II Schiller- Voigt, 399, n. 48. 
** Livy, xxxix. 22, 

t Homolle. B. C. H., viii. 86 fi. 
§ Plutarch, Cat. M., xxi. 
^ Pliny, H. N., xviii. 11, 107. 
■ft Plaut., Aul., iii. 5, 34 ff. 


or playwrights. Plautus, an Umbrian from Sarsina, who had 200-170 b.c. 
failed in various speciilations, and tried his hand at several 
humble trades for a hving, was now making money by adapting 
Greek comedies for Roman audiences with a spirited humour 
and considerable dramatic abihty. The country people were 
flocking to Rome in such numbers that in 187 and 177 the 
Latin towns lodged complaints with the Senate.* The price 
of land increased with the population ; wooden lodging-houses 
many storeys high, managed and sub-let by a freedman or a 
lessee, brought in a large income ; for the labourers and small 
tradesmen of Rome would pay heavy rents for a single room.f 
In the suburbs high prices were paid for the lease of market- 
gardens, running water for dye-works, or lakes and hot springs 
for baths. J If a man inherited land in Rome or had been early 
enough in buying it, his fortune was made. 

The most far-reaching effect of this era of prosperity has "p^e demand 
been left to the last. It provoked an enormous increase in the 
slave trade. By the time these influences had been a generation 
at work there was hardly any one in Italy who was not in need 
of fresh labour : occupiers of State land required shepherds ; 
the contractors required labour for pubUc works or mihtary 
equipment ; the State required it for the pubhc services ; 
traders for the crews of their ships ; the wealthy for domestic 
service or for gladiatorial shows ; small proprietors and the 
middle class generally to reheve them of the more distasteful 
part of their daily work. 

But in the ancient world any nation which, through a rapid The ancients 
increase of wealth and power, was suddenly in want of a large nity of labour, 
amount of labour, could never find a sufficient number of men 
willing to work for wages without any other inducement beyond 
their own need or ambition. Thus the ancients were always 
forced back upon slaves. For the savage (and in this respect 
the civihsed races of antiquity resembled their savage neigh- 
bours) has little liking for work, and still less for subordination. 
He will work a httle as artisan or trader, if he is not subjected 
to control ; and he will resign himself to dependence on 
others as a retainer or arm-bearer or bravo, if he is thereby 
saved from working ; but he will never voluntarily submit both 
to work and to be in dependence. He would rather beg or 

* Livy, xxxix. 3, xli. 8. 

f For the high rents at Rome in the first half of the second century 
B.C., cf. Diodonis Siculus, xxxi. 18, 2; Pohhnann, U. A. G., 74. 
t Plut,, Cat,, M., xxi. 8. 



The slave 


200-170 B.C. Thus before long a slave traffic had been organised on the 
most gigantic scale. Slave-dealers found their way, not only 
into the military encampments where barbarian captives 
were promptlysold off cheap to the officers and common soldiers, 
or to the traders who followed the army, but also throughout 
the confines of the Empire, wherever petty monarchs and savage 
chiefs, like the negro kings of Africa, were ready to sell prisoners 
of war, or could be persuaded for a consideration to part with 
their own subjects. From farthest Gaul and Germany and 
the Caucasus long caravans of fettered slaves were continually 
descending to the smiling shores of the Mediterranean or the 
Black Sea, making for Marseilles or Aquileia, Panticapaeum, 
Phanagoria or Dioscurias. The dealers, native and Italian, 
who awaited their arrival, paid the chiefs or their agents in 
wine and salt and the precious metals, and embarked them 
either directly to Italy or to Delos, where they were included 
in the general stock of Asiatic commodities.* A large number 
of Italians owed their riches to this traffic in human goods ; 
some, adopting milder but no less lucrative methods, occupied 
themselves with the education of slaves, buying them at a 
tender age, and instructing them in profitable arts,t or drilling 
them in swordsmanship to be let out as gladiators at expensive 

The first thirty years of the second century B.C. formed 
one of those happy epochs when any man can make a fortune 
even out of the smallest capital, because commerce, industry 
and adventure, and every kind of novel enterprise, are increasing 
rapidly and harmoniously. When labour is abundant profits 
are quick and plentiful ; every accession of wealth brings new 
opportunities in its train ; and the accumulation of capital is 
easy, rapid, and continuous. Many who had begun life poor 
ended it in comfort, and many ascended still higher, from 
comfort to luxury ; by the side of the old nobility there was 
now a new bourgeoisie of wealthy capitalists, who had made 
fortunes in the slave traffic, in oversea trade, in farming the 
State taxes, lands or mines, or in army contracts. These men 
were enrolled by the Censors in the Centuries of the Knights ; 
and thus the Equestrian order, which had formerly consisted 
of property holders of moderate wealth who were not nobles, 
soon developed into a class of rich capitaHsts and merchants. 
The commercial spirit was spreading upwards as well as down- 

* Duruy, H. R., ii. 380. 
t Plut., Cat. M. xxi. 

The new 


wards, from the proletariat to the aristocracT^, thwarting, even 200-170 b.c. 
in the most conservative households, the obstinate prejudices 
of the agricultural age. Thus Cato, the representative of 
a Sabine family of moderate property-holders, who had made 
his way into the Senate, at first promised to figure as the 
persecutor of money-lenders and the regular type of the old- 
fashioned " landlord " ; yet he subsequently plunged into 
business, associated with merchants and shipowners, specu- 
lated in land, and even engaged in usury and the slave- 

And yet beneath this outward show of prosperity the seeds The new 
were being sown for a violent and far-reaching revolution. popSution. 
The rapidity of the transition from the old order to the new in 
all classes of the community involved a thorough readjustment 
of the whole constitution of society. It is true that those 
plebeians who remained in the country still lived a sober and 
honourable family life, after the manner of their fathers, 
respecting, with equal simpHcity, the nobility and the law : 
but those who had settled at Rome in order to devote themselves 
to commerce or shopkeeping or contracting, or any of the urban 
professions, acquired all the vices that corrupt the populace 
of a rich commercial city ; they became greedy, dissolute and 
excitable, with a continual craving for amusement and luxury ; 
they criticised every authority and submitted to no rule ; 
they rioted and swindled and refused the responsibilities of 
wedlock ; and they displayed an unmeasured pride at the im- 
perial greatness of Rome. Meanwhile the old Latin stock was 
slowly losing its purity, becoming contaminated into a mongrel 
mixture of blood from every race and country, as Levantines, 
Spaniards, Gauls and Scythians became absorbed by manumis- 
sion into the citizen population. Before long the old veterans 
who had repelled Hannibal could hardly recognise the sober 
and sequestered country town which was the Rome of their 
youth. Every skirmish with a savage tribe was acclaimed to 
the skies as a prodigy of generalship ; and the honours of a 
triumph were freely accorded f to any commander who won 
the favour of his men by relaxation of discipline and a brief 
and lucrative campaign. AH Rome professed superior know- 
ledge of strategy and tactics ; and even in camp, face to face 
with the enemy, the rich and turbulent • plebeians gave a 
reluctant and questioning obedience to the orders of their 

* Plut., Cat. M. xxi. 

t Mommsen, R. G., i. 810. 

tives of the 
old order. 


200-170 B.C. generkls, and looked down, as subject-races, upon the Latins 
and allies.* 

The upper classes were undergoing an analogous change. 
Of course, as always happens at a time of transition, there 
were families among the historic nobility who were as 
little able to take advantage of their opportunities as the 
majority of the old European nobiUty have succeeded in our 
own day in becoming captains of industry or lords of the money 
market. These continued to live in the old-fashioned style on 
a patrimony which had formerly been considered a fortune. 
Amongst them were the ^lii, who dwelt, sixteen of them, 
each with his own family, in a single house on the income yielded 
by a single estate ; and similar conditions are recorded of 
the Fabricii Luscini, the Atihi Calatini, the Manlii Acidini 
and the Pauli ^milii.t Others again, though clever enough 
to make money with the rest, preserved the ancient usages 
and ideas into an altered age, and were proud of posing as the 
champions of tradition. Perhaps the foremost representative 
of this class was Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus, who, as 
Praetor in Spain, was largely responsible for the pacification 
of that country. By fair and liberal agreements with the 
principal tribes he saved the province from the horrors of 
insurrection, and freed it too from the curses of capitalism 
by replacing the Sicilian and Sardinian system of tax-farming 
by the form of tribute known as stifendium, a fixed payment, 
partly in kind, which was collected by the governor.! 

But these after all were exceptional cases ; and before long 
there grew up, even among the aristocracy, a generation of 
arrogant and ambitious politicians, who transformed the 
reasoned and moderate Liberalism of Scipio and his followers 
into a revolutionary movement at variance with all the ancient 
principles of social discipline, and destined to set public and 
private life at the mercy of passion and self-seeking; who were 
greedy, overbearing and unscrupulous, contemptuous of 
tradition and dazzled by the glamour of Graeco-Asiatic civilisar 
tion.§ Young men stood for office before reaching the legal 
age, and did not shrink from open bribery to attain their 
desire ; magistrates took to speculation, or made money out 
of their position ; they would obtain grants of State larid 

* Plut,, Mm. Paul., xi. and xiii., 4 ; Livy, xliv. 22 ; Neumann, 
G. R. v., 16 ff. 

t Valerius Maximus, iv. 4, 8 ; Plut., Mxa. Paul., v. ; Cicero, de Leg. 
Agr., ii. 24, 64 ; Lange, R. A., ii. 293. 

X Nitzsch, G. v., 146. § Lange, R. A. ii. 244 and 241. 

The new 
school of 


from friendly Censors in excess of the limit fixed by the Licinian 200-170 b.c. 
laws, or even usurp it as private property,* or embezzle the 
prize money due to the Treasury, or harass and plunder the 
subjects and aUies.t The scions of wealthy families caused 
great anxiety by the spirit of insubordination they introduced 
into the turmm or cavalry regiments in which they served.! 

Nowhere was the new school of policy seen to less advantage The new 
than in the sphere of foreign policy. The rising generation p''™*'^'- 
ran counter to all the traditions of Roman diplomacy, and 
ignored as a childish prejudice that Right of Nations which it CJasgentium.] 
had hitherto been Rome's boast to observe in all her deaUngs 
with the stranger. To despise all foreigners, to be always in 
the right, to make the end justify the means : these were the 
principles of the new diplomacy, which, with a perfidy that grew 
with each success achieved, reduced the allied States of Rhodes, 
Pergamus and Egypt to a position of ignominious dependence, 
and, alike in the independent republics of Greece and the great 
monarchies of Asia, fomented discord and espionage, sedition 
and civil war, always supporting the weaker and less reputable 
cause where its influence and prestige would find an easier 
foothold. In its dealings with barbarians it acknowledged no 
code of honour ; they might be attacked and exterminated 
without cause or excuse or declaration of war § ; yet they 
reserved the right to defend them against a civiUsed power 
if their protection appeared to coincide for the moment with 
the interests of their suzerain.|| 

Inside the family the same influences were at work. Among oid-time 
the nobility many women won a large measure of liberty ; '^^'^ 
they rid themselves at last of the perpetual guardianship of 
the husband, and secured the free administration of their 
dowry. Divorces and breaches of the marriage tie became far 
more numerous, while meetings of the family tribunal were 
now almost unknown. It was the beginning of a new age : 
and noble families living austerely apart in the observance 
of ancient tradition, impartial and philosophic observers of 
the times, old men who looked back upon the invasion of 
Hannibal, unsuccessful aspirants who were jealous of the 
upstarts, and all the melancholy company of pedants and 

• Livy, xUi. i and 19 ; C. I. L., x. 583 ; Plut.. Tib. Gr. 8. 

t Livy, xliii. 2. % Cat. Or. 5. § Livy, xUi. 7, 8, xliii. i and 5. 

\ Appian, Mithr., xiii. ; Reinach, M. E., 96. The foreign policy 
of Rome at this period has been well elucidated by a yonng Italian 
writer, Corrado Barbagallo, in " Political Relations between Rome and 
Egypt, from the earliest times to 50 b.c." (Rome, 1901). 


200-170 B.C. grumblers, merged their particular grievances in a common 
regret for the good old times when 

Men dwelt secure in thrift and reverence.* 

Their complaint, like that of Dante, so often re-echoed by 
the Conservatives and Clericals of to-day, was sufficiently 
comprehensive. They lamented the brutal exactions of the 
tax-farmers, the debasement of family life, the dishonesty 
of the new diplomacy, and the contaminating influence of the 
customs of the East. Sometimes they would even succeed 
in passing some law conceived to check the new abuses, or, in 
the disgust or excitement of some resounding scandal, won 
their way to a high position in the State. But such out- 
bursts soon spent their force : the officious magistrates retired 
once more into private life, their prosecutions were post- 
poned and forgotten, and their speeches and enactments 
slowly faded from men's minds.f 

The new-fashioned leniency of public opinion was naturally 
reflected in legislation. In the first thirty years of the second 
century the penalties of death and scourging were abolished 
for Roman citizens both at Rome and in the provinces ; J 
flogging was done away with in the army, and a more seemly 
procedure prescribed for the execution of soldiers who were 
Roman citizens. 

Thus, in spite of individual protests and scandals, the change 
in the manners of the nobility went on unchecked. The 
deadening spirit of caste exclusiveness, the regard for family 
and friends and dependents, the calls of ambition or avarice, 
superseded the old-fashioned promptings of duty; while 
attempts to hasten the transformation of the old agricultural 
society became more pronounced and determined. Numerous 
Censors, amongst others Titus Quinctius Flamininus, Marcus 
Claudius MarceUus, Marcus iEmilius Lepidus, and Marcus 
Fulvius Nobilior, carefully revised the roU of electors, with 
the object of increasing the power of the less conservative and 
more corruptible proletariat at the expense of the agricultural 
middle class. Thus they readily enrolled as citizens the 
Latins who came to Rome as retail dealers and labourers, 
and even gave political rights to freedmen who were not 
Italians at all and allowed them to vote in the thirty-one 

* " Si stava in pace sobria e pudica," Dante, Parad. 15, 99. 
t Cf. Livy, xlii. 22, xliii. 2. 
X Lange, R. A., ii. 519 ff. 

Mitigation of 
for Roman 

The cosmo- 
politan elec- 


rural Tribes, hoping by this means to diminish the predominance 200-170 b.c. 
of the country voters in every constituency, and to build up a 
cosmopolitan and heterogeneous electorate with a far-reaching 
democratic programme, such as has never perhaps been seen 
again till in the United States of the present day. Here surely 
is one of the strangest of the ironies of history. It was a cos- 
mopolitan democracy, recruited from among the foreigners 
who had drifted by chance to the great city by the more de- 
generate section of her ancient nobility, which, in face of the 
hostility of the truly Roman population, who clung fondly to 
the customs and the poUcy of their fathers, effected the decisive 
transformation that rendered possible the Imperialism and the 
Empire of Rome.* 

Aggrandisement abroad and commerciahsm at home, the 
cosmopolitan immigrants and the debasement of Roman nation- 
ality, all tended to undermine the ancient structure of society. 
But it was education, the last and most powerful of dissolving 
forces, that laid it finally in ruin. 

The philosophy of Greece, and more especially of the Stoics, The new 
was now being taught in noble houses, opening men's minds ""^^ '°°' 
for the reception of general ideas ; and the theories elaborated 
by Greek thinkers on the familiar themes of democracy, aris- 
tocracy and tyranny began to be recognised and discussed 
by a nobility which had hitherto steered its course only by 
the fitful lights of experience and tradition. The tenative 
literary progress which had begun half a century back now 
reached its climax, amid a medley of races and classes, ideas 
and customs, and through writers who were themselves the 
product of the new cosmopoHtan society, in the appearance 
of the first writings in Latin literature at once sustained enough 
and original enough to rank as classics. The Umbrian Plautus 
produced, in racy and powerful language, what were to be the 
best of Latin comedies, whilst from Apulia (the ancient Cala- 
bria), half Greek and half Italian by birthright, Rome claimed 
Ennius, the father of Latin poetry, who purified her language, 
taught her the hexameter, and composed a history of Rome 
and a treatise on cookery to flatter the pride and the gluttony 
of his parvenu patrons. Pacuvius, a painter and a poet from 
Brindisi, wrote tragedies which long retained their vogue; 
and another favourite comedy writer was found in an Insu- 
brian Gaul named Statins Csecilius, probably a native of 

* Cf. on this important question Neumann, G. R. V., 88 S. ; Lange, 
R. A., ii. 218 ff . ; 249, ff. ; Nitzsch, G. V. 1 32 fi. 


172-168 B.C. Milan, who had been captured during the conquest of Cis- 
alpine Gaul and sold into slavery at Rome. Greek painting 

[Medioianum.] and sculpture on the other hand were but little known in the 
capital, and the artists of the Greek colonies in Southern Italy 
sufficed at present for the needs of the rest of the peninsula. 

iEmaius The war against Perseus (172-168), son of Phihp of Macedon, 

Uie"reartS?n. ^^° ^^'^ attempted to reconquer the territory lost by his father, 
marked an apparent reaction against the commercial spirit of 
the new era. Owing to the incompetence of the generals 
and the insubordination of the soldiers, the war opened with 
a series of decisive defeats, which for the moment so damaged 
Rome's prestige in the East that a number of small States and 
independent towns took sides with her enemies, while Antiochus 
of Syria actually declared war and laid hands upon Egypt. 
But Rome rose to the need. The people put the campaign 
into the hands of ^milius Paulus, an illustrious survivor of 
the Second Punic War, who, neglected by the statesmen of the 
rising generation as hostile to the manners and the politics of 
the age, had been living for many years in retirement. Paulus 
restored discipline in the army ; and when victory brought 
him the usual pile of plunder to be distributed, he kept a small 
share for his friends and his Soldiers and none at aU for himself, 
handing over the rest to the Treasury. It was certainly Paulus 
too who was responsible for the chief articles of the peace, 
which the Senate approved. Macedonia was not annexed, 
but divided for purposes of government into four separate 
districts, each deprived of all trading rights with the others : 
a tribute was imposed equivalent to half of what Macedonia 
had paid to its own king ; and the gold mines were shut down 
in order to prevent an influx of Italian capitalists.* At the 
same time the Censors Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus and 
Caius Claudius, in the hope of curbing the scandalous avarice 
of the contractors, made a scrupulous revision of the roU of 
Knights, and attempted to diminish the power of the cosmo- 
politan proletariat by excluding freedmen from the city tribes 
and confining their activities to a single electoral unit.f At one 
moment it seemed as though the Senate and the electors had 
been frightened into moving steadily backwards on the track 
of a vanished age.t 

But the reaction was short-lived. The huge sums paid into 

♦ Livy, xlv. 18 and 29. 

t Nitzsch, G.V., 162 ff. ; Lange, R. A., ii. 277. 

J Lange, R. A., ii. 228 fi. 


the Treasury by ^milius Paulus at the conclusion of peace 168-154 ^•'^* 
caused a rapid increase of wealth in all classes of the con^i- 
mumty* ; and the accidents of war were soon engulfed and New wars in 
forgotten in a fresh whirlpool of corruption. By the fall of *''* ^"'' 
Macedonia Rome was now indisputably paramount in the 
Mediterranean, and her diplomacy became more violent 
and more perfidious than ever. The proffered allegiance of 
the kings of Bithynia and Pergamus was rejected with con- 
tumely. Antiochus Epiphanes was ordered off brusquely, like 
a mere dependent, by the ambassador Popilius, from the siege 
of Alexandria. Throughout Greece and Asia all who hesitated 
to submit were visited with summary punishment. Delos was 
made over to Athens, and Antissa razed to the ground. Through- 
out the towns of Greece distinguished citizens were executed or 
deported to Italy ; Achaea alone contributed a thousand 
exfles, amongst them perhaps the greatest of the historians of 
antiquity, Polybius. One faction at Rome clamoured for the 
destruction of Rhodes on the vague charges that she had hoped 
for a Roman defeat in the Macedonian War, and that her 
citizens were over-arrogant. The true cause behind these 
pretexts was the desire for loot.f But the Senate disappointed 
their expectations. Where they had hoped for plunder, it 
was content to destroy. It declared Delos a free port ; and 
the warehouses and the custom dues of Rhodes soon passed 
to the Holy Island, which rapidly grew to be a rival to Carthage 
and Corinth.t 

But the prosperity diffused by warfare is never more than Fifteen years 
momentary, and a period of depression now automatically ° p^"^' 
supervened. It was felt in trade and speculation as well as 
in foreign policy. With Cisalpine Gaul, Liguria, and Spain 
reduced to obedience, and the East lying prostrate after the 
Battle of Pydua, there were between 168 and 154 neither 
important campaigns nor occasions for intervention. There 
was a cessation in the demand for military supphes, and peace 
deprived both nobility and peasantry of the customary profits 
of campaigning. 

The sums spent upon public works, instead of increasing slackening of 
year by year, remained stationary after the conclusion, in the co^Vrce''and 
preceding generation, of the great enterprises which had been speculation, 
required to make Rome adequate to her new position in Italy. 
The State Treasury was thus unable to dispose of its surplus^ 

* Polybius, xxxii. ii. * Aulus GelUus, vii. 3, 6. 

I Polybius, xxxi. 7 ; HomoUe, B. C. H., viii. 93 fi. 
I C 


170-140 B.C. and by 157 b.c. it contained 16,810 pounds of bullion in gold* 
22,070 in silver, and more than 61 millions of coined silver.* 
Even speculation on the State lands had come to a standstill ; 
for the larger and better portion had already been disposed of, 
either on lease, or by division among colonies, or through the 
appropriation of powerful families. Commerce, too, began to 
languish when slow profits became the rule. Thus the genera- 
tion which had grown up amid the short-lived prosperity of 
the Macedonian War found the stress of competition far severer 
than their fathers. 
Rise in the But there was no decline in the cost and the comforts of 

comfortl* °' living, which seemed to multiply regardless of the conditions 
of money-making. The new generation was more greedy of 
wealth and amusement, shyer of hardships and fatigue, than its 
predecessor. This indeed seems almost one of the common- 
places of history. The desire for an increase of luxury springs 
up at first among quite a small section of the population, but 
if it persists unchecked by the assaults of convention, which 
it must necessarily offend in the pursuance of its object, and 
if the sources of wealth are not drained dry, it will grow from 
year to year and from generation to generation, vnth the rise 
in the quantity of social aspirants and the measure of their 
desires, through the contagion of example and the rivalry 
incident to human nature, in an almost automatic ratio ; for 
as an ancient society gradually breaks up, there must be a 
growing number of persons who are unable to live in the old 
style, and compelled to attempt to live in the new. Thus, 
almost imperceptibly, a complete transformation is effected, 
in traditions, in institutions and in ideas, untU the needs of 
the new society are adapted to fuller and richer conditions of 
enjoyment. This was the experience through which Italy 
passed in the second thirty years of the second century B.C. 
The cost of living increased not only at Rome, but throughout 
Italy, in town and country alike ; comforts became needs, 
and luxuries comforts; gluttony and debauchery spread 
through ItaHan society, ruining body, soul and fortune t ; and 
when prices rose (it is difficult to say in what proportion) owing 
to the abundance of money, the income of many landowners 
diminished, particularly as the natural increase of the country 

* Pliny, H.N.,xxxm. 3, 55. 

t This is proved by the fact that in 143 B.C. the 'Lex Didia Cibaria 
extended to the whole of Italy the restrictions of the Lex Fannia ; cf. 
Macrobius, Sat., iii. 17. See also Pliny, H. N.,xvii. 25, 244 ; Polybius, 
xxxii. 1 1 . 


population failed to be relieved or retarded by the perUs and 170-140 b.c. 
profits of campaigning. In the environs of Rome, however, 
rents still continued to rise, with the steady increase in the 
numbers and wealth of the capital. Cispadane Gaul too, 
comprising the recently conquered districts of Emilia and 
Romagna, seems to have suffered less than other districts,* 
probably owing to the fact that the .Smilian Way was much 
frequented by the armies which moved to and fro in the Valley 
of the Po, hy passing traders and convoys of slaves and the 
flocks and herds which were driven southwards to Rome ; so 
that in the towns founded along its course the produce of the 
surrounding country found a ready market. 

Very different was the lot of regions and townships whoUy Difficulties and 
isolated from the great roads, especially in the south of Italy, agriculture. 
The Italian landowners of this time made corn their staple, to- 
gether with just enough vine and olive for home consumption.! 
But in the ancient world, even in countries provided with good 
roads, corn always needed to be sold in neighbouring markets, 
because the risk and the expense of carriage raised the price 
too high for conveyance to a distance ; while the native products 
of the day, such as wine and oU, were badly prepared, and often, 
owing to the lack of roads, practically impossible to transport. 
Thus whenever the small or moderate landowners of a remote 
district of Italy grew more than they needed, they were forced to 
place it on the market at rates so cheap as to appear miraculous to 
Romans, after the high prices and standards of the metropolis. J 

It is not surprising therefore that usury soon became the The rural 
scourge of the ItaHan country side. Numerous famihes who "''^"•• 
had been peaceably established for centuries round an ancestral 
hearth were forced to break up and venture forth along the 
great roads of Italy into a larger world. Thus the old-fashioned 
Italian system of cultivation was slowly undermined, and with 
it sank slowly into the ocean of the past all that survived of 
federal Italy with its multitudinous dialects, Oscan, Sabellian, 
Umbrian, Latin, Greek, Etruscan, and Gallic, with its countless 
walled and turreted townships, its small isolated allied repubhcs, 
its Latin colonies and Roman municifia. Many of the finan- 
ciers and senators who made their mark at Rome at the begin- 
ning of the next century were sprung from famihes in the 

* Mommsen, R. G., i. 852. f Max Weber, R. A. G., 223, 224. 

% Cf. Polybius, ii. 15, for the extraordinary cheapness of provisions 
in the Valley of the Po. It must have been much the same in all 
districts far removed from the great roads. 


170-140 B.C. municipia and the Latin colonies* ; and we may be justified 
in assuming that half a century earlier many distinguished 
families from these townships made their way to Rome under 
the pinch of poverty, hoping to rise once more on the social 
ladder, or at least to Uve in modesty removed from the embarrass- 
ing gaze of those who had seen them in prosperity. Thus, 
too, many young men of the middle class were obliged to 
abandon the country to seek their fortune in the nearest town ; 
but as the country towns were impoverished by the emigration 
of the great families and the increasing distress of the peasants, 
the great majority of the incomers moved gradually on to the 
capital. Thus the struggle for existence became more exacting 
both at Rome and in Italy. In every trade and in every under- 
taking where capital could be employed, competition increased 
and profits diminished. There were no new openings for 
activity ; enterprise seemed stagnant ; and before long over 
the whole of the peninsula distress seemed to have gathered 
like some huge poisonous morass, filling the air vnth venom for 
rich and poor alike ; while at Rome, whither men flocked in 
thousands, fascinated by the rumoured opulence of an imperial 
metropolis, starvation was a spectre for ever looming on the 
horizon As the city expanded to admit the new-comers i^: 
became necessary to look for corn in more distant markets : 
but the more distant the market the higher the price of bread ; 
and whenever there was a bad harvest the populace suffered 
from hunger and sank deep into debt.t 

Decadence of But a yet more serious evil still remains to be told : the 
impoverishment, corruption, and disappearance of the old 
Roman aristocracy. Among the noble families that had grown 
rich during the prosperous years at the beginning of the 
century, the younger members, combining the arrogance of 
their fathers with the vice and precocity of their contem- 
poraries, grew up to manhood morally and physically enfeebled. 
In others, which had been too proud or too incompetent to 
keep pace with the times, one generation might painfully 
sustain an obsolete convention of simplicity, but the next would 
succumb before the force of example. Many young men had 
sunk deep into debt ; others dismissed their dependents, sold 
the house of their fathers, and disappeared into the crowd to 
live in hired lodgings on the remains of their inherited wealth.! 

* WiUems, S. R. R., i. 179 ff. f See Appendix A. 

X Cf. the history of the family of Sulla (Plutarch, Sulla, i.) — a typical 
example of the decadence of noble families which became so frequent 


A few still hoped to repair their fortunes in the game of politics. 170-140 b.c. 
Little by little, almost unnoticed by contemporaries, the 
ancient ruling aristocracy, which regarded power as a responsi- 
bility, yielded up its time-honoured authority to nobles who 
were either rich and degenerate or poor and corrupt : who 
looked down on the miUionaires newly enrolled among the 
knights with all the patronage of jealousy, yet exerted every 
influence to cultivate their acquaintance. It is true that 
corruption was not yet entirely open and shameless ; from 
time to time Rome would still profess horror at the revela- 
tion of a scandal such as the affair of the Praetor Hostilius 
Tubulus, who was convicted in 142 of having sold his verdict 
in a murder trial.* But how was it possible to keep watch 
and ward over the subterranean channels of intrigue and cor- 
ruption ? Who could call rich magnates to account for 
insidious entertainments that broke down the last scruples 
of a needy and gluttonous nobility ? Who could gauge the 
exact influence of money or dependents in an election, or 
proclaim the opportune and unacknowledged distributions 
of partes, or shares, in the syndicates of the tax-farmers ? 
A few significant facts are worth putting on record. The 
gold mines of Macedonia, which had been shut down by 
jEmilius Paulus, were leased ten years later (to the surprise 
of ingenuous contemporaries), together with the Crown lands 
of the kings, to a small ring of Roman capitahsts.f Whenever 
a rich knight was summoned before the Senatorial tribunal, 
whatever the nature of the charge, his acquittal was always 
assured by the defence of influential patrons. J Financiers 
began to appear in the seats of honour in the theatre, and 
to exercise the privileges of Senatorial rank.§ Money, in fact, 
had become the supreme power in the State. 

A yet graver evil was the disorder in the army. As vice. Demoralisation 
arrogance and cupidity spread through the greedy oli- ° * '°^' 
garchy of artisans and freedmen, shipowners and contractors, 
which was now the nucleus of the Roman people, as the 
degenerate nobility, stripped in their decline of both wealth 
and influence, came to regard power merely as a means of 
acquiring the riches which it had once been their pride to 
expend for the State, so the spirit of democracy caught fire 

at this period and serves to explain the corruption at the time of the 
Jugurthine War. 

* Cicero, ad Att., xii. S, 3 ; De Fin., ii. 16, 54. 

t Cic, De Leg. Agr., ii. 19 ; Cassiod. an. 596-158. 

} Cf. e.g. Cic, Brutus, 22. § Lange, R.A., ii. 317 ff. 


170-140 B.C. from their example and ran riot through the ranks of the poor 
and humble.* Men proclaimed, not in whispers, that the 
People was master of the State ; and the doctrine, though it 
did not yet undermine the whole fabric of the Republic, had 
at least succeeded in demorahsing the discipline of the army. 
The Consuls, who raised the levies, tried to evade unpopularity 
by exempting a large number of Roman citizens from military 
service in distant countries ; for the rich thought it intolerable 
to be drafted off into the field from their business or their 
amusements. Officers no longer dared to punish citizens who 
could retaliate within a year or two at the elections : they 
were compelled to allow slaves and prostitutes to appear in 
camp, to sanction new-fangled indulgences Hke hot baths 
or heavy drinking, to overlook acts of cruelty and looting and 
cowardice, till all ranks in all the armies had lost both discipline 
and prestige.t Every expedient was adopted to relieve the 
masters of the Empire from the burden of defending it — 
by lowering the property qualification for mUitary service, by 
reducing the term to six years, by granting complete exemption 
after six campaigns, J or by enlarging the contingents from 
the Latin colonies and the aUies, amongst whom there was 
still a plentiful supply of sturdy peasants. § But now that the 
citizen legions, once the pattern and glory, had become the 
scandal of the camp, it was no longer possible to maintain 
discipline in the cohorts of allies and Latins, and the armies 
degenerated into schools of gluttony, license and violence. 
The birth and It was during this slow decomposition of the military, agri- 
iL^man*^-" Cultural and aristocratic society, which began after Rome had 
periaium. ^qjj ^]^g gypj-eme power in the Mediterranean, and through 
the working of the forces of commerce and capitalism, that 
Roman ImperiaHsm, as we know it, was called into being. 
The spirit of brutality and arrogance, heightened in aU classes 
of the community by the consciousness of controlling imperial 
riches and dominions, the cupidity of the nobility and the 
capitalists, and the widespread dismay at the demoraHsation 
of the army, transformed the wise and moderate policy of 
diplomatic intervention devised by Scipio into a relentless 
policy of aggression and annihilation. It was inaugurated 
by the third declaration of war against Carthage (149), followed 
by the conquest of Macedonia (149-148) and of Greece (146) : 
while, in 154, war broke out once more in Spain. This was 

* Appian, Pun., 1 13. f /d. 115-117 ; Hisp., 85. 

t Nitzsch.G.V.,231. § Neumann, G.R. v., 17-18. 


regarded at first as a mere punitive expedition against a small 150-140 b.c. 
allied people : but soon defeat followed defeat ; and, worse 
stiU, when it was known at Rome that the Spanish campaign 
was no mere military promenade, but a long and difficult 
struggle, it became impossible to find either soldiers or officers 
to take part in it. 

This scandal, which revealed all the latent abuses first detected Destruction of 
by keen observers during the war with Perseus, intensified the Corinth^* *" 
uneasiness which had been felt for some time past at the 
growing wealth and prosperity of Carthage. Cato vigorously 
resumed his old and familiar propaganda, urging Rome to 
destroy her rival before she was herself destroyed ; and this 
time the suggestion found favour, thanks to the united support 
of the needy aristocrats, to whom war spelt plunder, the rich 
capitalists, who hoped to capture the trade between the 
interior of Africa and the Mediterranean, the shrewd calcula- 
tions of the contractors, and the unthinking ferocity of the 
urban proletariat. It was in vain that the last upholders 
of Roman chivalry strove to avert an uncalled-for aggression 
upon a peaceful power. After a treacherous declaration of 
war, after shameful reverses, and three years of hard fighting, 149-146 b.c. 
Carthage was burned by Scipio jEmilianus, and her trade 
passed into the hands of the Roman merchants.* At the same 
time, encouraged by the Roman defeats in Africa and Spain, 
Macedonia and Greece rose in revolt against their master. 
Both were conquered and visited with an equal vengeance — 
they were annexed to the Roman Empire as provinces and 
plundered through and through. The illustrious and still 
thriving city of Corinth was laid in ashes, to the horror of 
the Greeks. A few years later, in 143, and entirely without 
provocation, the Consul Appius Claudius attacked the Salassi 
in the wilds of Piedmont — the Transvaal of Roman capitahsts 
— and deprived them of part of their auriferous territory; 
the workings were promptly rented by a Roman company, 
which brought in more than five thousand slaves, and made 
Victumulae, in the region of Vercelli, the centre of the mining [VerceUa.] 
industry in Piedmont.f At the first symptoms of its decadence 
the Roman public burst out in a passion of pride and 
savagery which swept Corinth and Carthage clean from their 146 b.c. 

But there were thinkers at Rome who could hear quieter 

* Suet., Ter. Vita, c. i. 

•f Strabo, v. 1, 12 {218) ; Pliny, H. N., xxxiii. 4, 78 ; C.I.L., v. p.ViS- 


150-140 B.C. voices behind the shouting and the victories. Men such as 
Cato and Sempronius Gracchus, Scipio ^milianus and Metel- 
Theen- lus Macedonicus, Caius Lselius, Mucins Scaevola and Licinius 

consenra«ves. Crassus Mucianus, were wise enough to know that these 
outbursts of fury only accelerated the decadence that they 
affected to belie or to retard. They felt a patriotic pride, 
it is true, in the newly acquired power and wealth of their 
country, and hoped to make use of it to further the general 
progress of the arts ; Metellus, the conqueror of Macedonia, 
planned the building of two temples, to Jupiter and to Juno, 
with a magnificent colonnade aU round, and brought over archi- 
tects and sculptors from Greece, amongst them two brothers, 
Polycletus and Timarchides, who were the first to acquaint 
Rome with the finest Attic work.* But they could not resign 
themselves to the disappearance of all that was best and 
most beloved in the ancient society, the family discipline, the 
self-control, the civic enthusiasm, the harmony of classes. 
What would happen to Rome if the country population con- 
tinued to decline in numbers and resources, if aU Reman 
citizens abandoned agriculture to become merchants or con- 
tractors, artisans or beggars, if the luxury, indifference and 
corruption of the nobility went on unchecked ? The visible 
greatness of Rome was not enough to reassure the anxieties 
of far-sighted observers. True, her astute and perfidious 
diplomacy had safely hastened the downfall of the great 
kingdoms of the Orient. From Pergamus to Egypt, her 
Eastern neighbours were so enfeebled by intrigue, so para- 
lysed by the v iolence ofthe Senate and its ambassadors, that 
Rome was shortly to witness one of the strangest surprises 
in history, the extinction of a rich and powerful monarchy by 
133 B.C. suicide. Attains, King of Pergamus, died wdthin a few years 
of this time, leaving his kingdom and his subjects to the 
Roman people. Thus, without moving a legion, by the 
simple exercise of her overwhelming prestige over a long 
estabHshed and decadent dynasty, Rome was to lay her hands 
on one of the richest and most fertile regions of the world. 
Her most feared and hated rivals, Carthage and Corinth, 
were now both destroyed, and her power was being slowly 
consoUdated in Asia and throughout the Mediterranean basin. 
Yet the wild tribes of Spain still maintained an obstinate resist- 
ance, in spite of organised devastations and indiscriminate 

* Cf. Pliny, H. N., xxxiv. 8, 52, and the arguments of Brunn, G.G. 
K., i. 535 fi. ; Overbeck, G. G. P., ii. 428 ff. ; B. C. H. 5., 390 ff. 


massacres which impoverished the treasury and exhausted 150-140 b.c. 
the army ; and this alone was sufficient to dismay far-seeing 
observers. The instinct of conservatism, which puts a drag The conserva- 
upon history in every age, and vainly seeks to evade the suffering *^'"' '°=*'°=*- 
necessary to progress, sprang to its labour of self-defence ; and 
on every side men raised the lament of the viase, and the 
over-wise, when a society is dying. It is true that in the change, 
by a law of compensation whose working is invisible to con- 
temporary observers, the evil often perishes with the good. 
Amid the accidents and the confusion of history men criticise 
events from their immediate results ; they instinctively resent 
the loss of anything that is dear to them ; and they stand 
continually in dread of an utter and final extinction, amid 
the suspense and vicissitudes of an age that is slowly dying 
and an age that is coming to birth. For the fitful and mys- 
terious movements of history are like the alternations of night 
and day in the far Northern summer — a long, almost endless, 
day, a long twilight, then the extinction of all the visible world 
in the total darkness of a brief midnight ; then again the long 
twilight of morning, heralding the dawn of a new Hght over 
the world. But when he has lived through the splendour 
and sunshine of a familiar civiHsation and watched its slow 
decline in the darkness, man thinks that the light is quenched 
for ever, and turns back in a blind and instinctive despair to 
worship the sun of a vanished day. Thus the clearer spirits 
of that age desired to restore all that was excellent in the 
ancient society without surrendering what they welcomed 
and respected in the new, to fuse the dead past with the Hving 
present : to reconstitute the class of small proprietors which 
supplied the army,* to regenerate the aristocracy in all its old- 
time simplicity,"!" and to recall Romans to their duty of 
raising a numerous family.! 

It was this eternal illusion and contradiction, which mocks 
men at every turn in the onward road of ci"vihsation, that was 
at once the torment and the greatness of the best known and 
most typical figure of this generation. Pubhus Cornehus Scipio 
^milianus, son of JEimUns Paulus, and adopted by a son of Scipio 
yAfricanus, was both a thinker and a man of action. With a keen 

* Scipio iEmilianus and Laelius had anticipated Tiberius Gracchus 
in proposing to grant allotments of land to poor soldiers — Plut., Tib. 
Gr. 8. 

■f Cf. the speech of Scipio ^milianus, Aul. Gell., iv. 20. 

J Cf. the speech of MeteUus Macedonicus, De prole augenda, in Suet., 
Aug., 89 ; Aul. Gell., i. 6. 



Scipio ^mili- 
anus and 

150-140 B.C. and retentive intellect, undazzled by the tenipta:tions of 
riches and self-indulgence, he had exercised his natural gifts 
from youth upwards in study and discussion. At once the 
friend and the favourite pupil of Polybius, that great thinker 
had opened to him his whole store of historical wisdom and 
experience. He had learnt to detect all the ravages of im- 
perialism : he had marked how pride and cupidity, the thirst 
for pleasure, the decay of wedlock and all the passions of 
the commercial era, together with the policy of aggression 
which was its natural outcome, had ruined the old military 
power of Rome, broken down the old harmony of the classes, 
and endangered the peace and security of the home govern- 
ment, infesting the metropolis of Empire with the same 
ominous symptoms of anarchy and misrule which had hastened 
the doom of the ancient Greek Republics. Yet since he was one 
of the few able active and pubHc-spirited survivors among a 
degenerate nobility, and the only skilful and competent general 
of his generation, Scipio was fated to carry out the most diffi- 
cult and brutal enterprises of the savage imperialism of his age 
which had entombed the reputations of his less scrupulous 
colleagues ; it was Scipio who completed the destruction of 
Carthage, and eventually, after years of warfare, was sent out 
to Spain to capture Numantia. But was it possible to work 
single-handed against the sweep of the stream ? The pupil 
of Polybius had for ever in his ears the noise of the falls towards 
which the current was setting ; but he knew — for he steered 
by a higher wisdom than that of Rome — that no pilot could 
guide his ship upstream against the swirling rapids of the river 
of history.* 

Scipio saw further than his fellows ; yet he was only the 
child of his time. All those who cherished a grudge against 
their own generation — the miserable proletariat, the debt- 
laden landowners, the ancient and impoverished nobility, 
the reactionary conservatives who deplored the great changes 
that had been accomplished, and the uncompromising revolu- 
tionaries who deplored that they were still but half accom- 
plished — all shared, in their various measures, in the same 
tragedy and contradiction. None of them could look forward 
to the compensations in store for the troubles of the present. 
None of them detected that, just because they were plunged 
for the moment into a common misery, the people of Italy 
would meet and mingle, in all the cities of the peninsula, and 
* C/. Meyer, U.G.G., 22. 

The education 
of empire- 


above all in the capital, to forget the traditions and the dialects 150-140 b.c. 
of their country homes in the ambition to gain a new country 
and a new prosperity— that the genius of Rome would 
exchange the obstinate prejudices, the blundering ignorance 
and debasing superstitions of its origin for the Hellenic 
curiosity which penetrates, by patient and methodical investi- 
gation, into the very heart of life. Without this education 
in method which she learnt from the Greeks, Rome would 
never have produced the untiring Empire-builders, architects 
overseers and workmen, of the next generation ; but the 
contemporaries of Scipio jEmUianus saw only the dissolution 
of the ancient order, the disorganisation of the army, the 
encroachment of poverty ; and, looming over the imperial 
city like a fuU charged thunder-cloud, the most feared and 
fearful calamity in a nation's annals, the war of Class against 


Tiberius Gracchus and the crisis in Italian agriculture — ^The 
essentially conservative idea of his Land law— The oppo- 
sition goads him into a democratic and revolutionary agitation 
— Death of Tiberius — Progress in the cultivation of the oUve 
and vine — Caius Gracchus : his character, education, and early 
career — His scheme of reform — ^The Judicial law, the Asiatic 
law, the Corn law, the Eoad law — His second tribuneship ; 
scheme against over population ; scheme for Italian franchise 
— Unpopularity of these proposals — Death of Caius Gracchus 
— The Pergamene bequest and auction — Increase of luxury 
and the expenses of living — Spread of the commercial spirit — 
Growth of Eastern trade — Middle-class education and ambi- 
tions — Break up of the Roman and Italian aristocracy — For- 
mation of an Italian bourgeoisie — Military weakness of Rome 
— Pause in her conquests — ^Laud law of Thorius and its im- 
portance — the Jugurthine War reveals the corruption of the 
aristocracy — First outbreak of democratic spirit — ^Marius 
made Consul — ^The new enemies on the frontiers : Mithridates 
and the Cimbri and Teutones — Defeat of the aristocratic 
generals by the Cimbri — Marius re-elected Consul — His great 
military reforms — Victories against the Cimbri — Power of 
the democratic party and humiliation of the nobility. 

More than a century was to pass before the issue could 
finally be decided, but the opening skirmishes of the great 
battle came more quickly than men thought. Tiberius and Caius 
Gracchus were the first to raise the banner of the democracy. 
It was these two brothers, nephews of the great Africanus, 
near connections of Scipio ^milianus, last representatives of 
one of the most historic Roman families, who first forced the 
problem of poverty upon the attention of the Republic. 
Tiberius Tiberius Gracchus had been brought up in his father's house 

Gracclias and ° '^ 

Ills circle. * Pqj. ^jjg original authorities for the period dealt with in theJoUowing 

chapter see Sources for Roman History, B.C. 1 33-70,collected and arranged 
by A.H. J.Greenidge and A. M. Clay (Oxford, 1903). The years 133-104 
are fully described in the first and only volume of A History of Rome during 
the later Republic and early Principate, by A. H. J. Greenidge (London, 
1905), whose early death is deeply deplored by all students of Roman 
history. ^^ 


under the most distinguished Greek philosophers of the day. 133 b.c. 
He was familiar from boyhood with discussions on the diffi- 
culties that beset the Roman State. He had heard Rome's 
most notable statesmen lamenting the symptoms of social 
and military decadence, and crying out for some reform which 
would avert the impending chaos. What disquieted them 
most of all was the wholesale disappearance of the country 
population upon which the army relied for its recruits. Yet 
they had failed to probe the true nature of the disease, and 
their remedies were the drugs of the old opportunist quackery. 
Hitherto at Rome, government had never failed to cope with 
the unrest of the proletariat ; a paternal Senate had always 
successfully intervened vsdth the usual palliatives ; it had dis- 
tributed lands or abolished debts or founded colonies.* Men 
had grown up in the belief that it is the business of the State 
to protect the poor ; they were confirmed in it by a conviction, 
equally universal and equally deep-rooted, that the sole and suffi- 
cient means of exercising this protection was by way of legislation. 

Such was the birthright of ideas with which Tiberius Early career 
entered upon life. The experience of early manhood deepened °^ ''"'''*""'• 
the impressions of his youth. He served in the Spanish War, 
a costly and inglorious campaign which lasted twenty years, 153-133 b.c 
and almost reduced Rome to bankruptcy ;t and, a few years 
later, witnessed the great slave revolt in Sicily, which the 139-132 b.c. 
government had real difficulty in suppressing. Thus on all 
sides he was confronted with the rapid degeneration of the army. 
He was young and sanguine, aU aflame with an enthusiasm un- 
quenched as yet by any continuous contact with affairs. He made 
up his mind to deal simultaneously with the two great problems 
brfoie him, the distress at Rome and the decay of the army, 
to aad^o so by reviving the long-forgotten agrarian agitation. 

His idea was a very simple one. The Roman State had in Tiberius 
time past been the landlord of large public estates all overpfj^*" 
Italy, particularly in the south of the Peninsula. These estates 
had for many years been held on lease or, in some cases, merely 
occupied by wealthy proprietors from among the Roman 
aristocracy. But the State had never resigned its original 
rights, and might legitimately at any time see fit to enforce 
them. If all the State lands were cut up into small holdings, 
and the distressed poor of Rome and Latium settled upon them 
as peasant proprietors, the whole military problem would be 
solved at a stroke. The dying country towns of Italy would 
* Duruy, H. R., ii. 393. t Nitzsch, G. V., 294. 


133 B.C.- be infused with fresh life : and the agricultural districts round 
them, passing again under cultivation by this new yeoman 
class, would once more send their sturdy tale of recruits to 
the Roman legions.* 
His Land Biu. The enthusiasm awakened by this startling panacea carried 
Tiberius to the Tribuneship for the year 1 3 3 .t He immediately 
brought forward a Land Bill, drawn up for him by two Greek 
experts, Blossius of Cumse, and Diophanes of Mitylene.J 
It provided that no Roman citizen should possess more than 
500 acres of public land, with 250 acres for each of his sons up 
to a possible maximum of another 500 acres. § The Latins 
and Italians were to be deprived of all public land that had not 
been formally assigned to them, whether they held it by 
purchase or merely by occupation. || Roman citizens in occupa- 
tion of pubUc lands, who were mostly men of large means, 
were to receive a money compensation for the improvements 
made 1 ; the Latins and allies, whose holdings were all on a more 
moderate scale, were to be compensated by being allowed to 
take part with the distressed poor of Rome in the new distribu- 
tion of estates.** The new Roman settlers were to pay a small 
annual rental to the State, and the lands made over to them 
were to be inalienable. Three magistrates chosen every year 
by the people in the Assembly of the Tribes were to distribute 
the estates and to examine into all cases of disputed ownership.ft 

* Sicul. Flac. de Cond. Agr., p. 136-7. 

+ Lange, R. A.,m. 7; Plut.,Tib. Gr.,9 ; c/.C. I.L., i. 551. 

I Plut.,Tib.Gr.,8. § C. I. L.,i.p. 87. 

II This clause is not mentioned in any of the authorities, but it seems 
necessary in order to explam a statement of Appian, B.C., i. 18. He 
declares that the Latins and allies objected to being asked to produce 
the documents to prove that they had bought or been assigned their 
lands, and that in many cases the lands which they had occupied 
without legal right had been indistinguishably confused with land 
legitimately assigned to them. 

% Appian, B. C., i. 1 1 ; Plut., Tib. Gr., 9 ; Duruy, H. R., ii. 395, n. 2. 

** This supposition is again due to Appian, i. 18. He tells us that 
the Latin and Itahan proprietors complained that they were given 
uncultivated in exchange for cultivated lands, which shows that they 
took part in the new distribution. On the assumption that small 
proprietors were more numerous among the Latins and Itahans than 
among the Romans, the whole difficulty is explained ; the simplicity 
of the explanation only helps to confirm it. Tiberius was an advocate of 
small holdings ; he would hardly have done anything to injure the small 
Latin and Italian proprietors who provided so many good soldiers 

tt Appian, B. C, 1. 9 ; Livy, p. 58. According to Livy, the power 
of deciding whether lands were pubUc or private was given thetn in a 
secou(^law ; cf. Lange, R. A. , ui. 1 3. Landucci {Storia del diritto Romano 
Padua 1895) assigns it to the year 129, after the death of Tiberius ' 


The bill was very favourably received by the peasants and 133 b.c. 
the small proprietors.* It appears also to have given great 
satisfaction to the clients, freemen and artisans, wfho made Reception 
up the proletariat of the metropolis; they fell into the not "'*''* '"'"■ 
unnatural mistake — often made by the poor before and since — 
of regarding the greed of the rich and the indifference of the 
government as a suflBcient explanation of their own distress. 
A number of the enlightened conservatives were also inchned 
to welcome the bill.t Some of the strongest support came 
from Senators whose means did not permit them to hve up 
to the new standard of the times, who secretly rejoiced at 
the contemplated spcmtion of the proprietors of huge pastoral 
estates. The landlords were thus attacked on two sides. 
They were an insignificant minority in the Senate, and they 
could not hope to defeat the bill in the Comitia. In their 
dilemma they resorted to an ingenious manceuvre. They 
induced a colleague of Tiberius to interpose his tribunician 
veto, thus dividing the democratic forces and enrolling against 
the champion of social reform all the ancient and almost 
religious associations of the great popular office. But Rome 
had of late years grown familiar with methods of turbulence ; 
and this rather despicable stratagem provoked an outbreak 
even against the hitherto inviolate authority of the Tribunes 
Excitement rose high on both sides. The impetuous Tiberius, 
after vainly trying to break down the obstinacy of his colleague, 
called upon the people to deprive him of his office. This was 
a new and quite unconstitutional demand. But the people 
were now thoroughly exasperated ; they voted his deposition, 
and forthwith passed the bUl. 

On this disorders broke out afresh. The landlords accused Sepnd cam- 
Tiberius of having violated the semi-rehgious authority of m^^?of 
the Tribunate. Tiberius, seeing he had nothing more to hope T't'e^s- 
from the rich, now frankly assumed the role of a demagogue : 
in a series of high-pitched and eloquent speeches he declared 
the will of the people to be the supreme authority in the Roman 
State.! At this juncture news came that Attains, King of 
Pergamus, had died, bequeathing his kingdom to the Roman 
people. Tiberius immediately carried a bill decreeing that 
the treasure of Attains was to be used to provide the poorest 
of the new settlers with the implements of husbandry, and that 

* Appian, B. C, i. 14. 

+ Neumann, G. R. V., 166. 

X Plut., Tib. Gr., 15 ; Val. Max., iii. 2, 17. 



133 B.C. 

Collapse of 

the people and not the Senate should take over the administra- 
tion of the new province.* His enemies seized the long-sought 
opportunity. Putting the constitutional issue in the foreground 
they openly accused him of aspiring to the tyranny. It was 
a clever but dangerous manoeuvre ; for to threaten Tiberius 
with prosecution on a capital charge was to drive him in self- 
defence to seek re-election to the Tribuneship. It appears 
that for this end he put out a further programme of popular 
legislation.! But it was too late to hope for a peaceful settle- 
ment. Both parties came down to the Comitia suspicious of 
their opponents, and in a mood rather for violence than for 
voting. A small disturbance, which broke out, it seems, during 
the course of the elections, put the spark to the powder. A 
body of Senators, after failing to induce the Consul to pro- 
claim a state of siege, rushed armed into the midst of the 
crowd, and killed Tiberius with a number of his friends.J 
Coercion too often seems justified by its results ; and this 
the movement; weU-timed resort to violence disposed as effectually of the 
followers as of their leader. The loss of Tiberius dispersed 
and discouraged the different sections of his party. Those 
of the enlightened conservatives who had sympathies for 
reform had been more and more disgusted as the agitation pro- 
ceeded, and were now too frightened to recollect their previous 
opinions ; while on the removal of their champion the people 
relapsed into helplessness. It was an ominous success. After 
long generations of orderly government, Rome woke up to 
the discovery that a faction which took the law into its own 
hands might emerge from the experiment, not only with 
impunity, but with added power and respect. Even Scipio 
.iEmihanus, then engaged in the siege of Numantia, was 
glad to hear of the murder of his hot-headed young 

Meanwhile the three commissioners, one of whom was 
Caius, the only brother of Tiberius, set to work upon their 
task. They conscientiously made their way through Cisalpine 
Gaul and the south of Italy, delimitating and distributing 
the public lands, § and trying to revive the old yeoman class 
which only eighty years before had saved Italy from the invader. 

* Plut.,Tib.Gr., 14. f Id. 16. 

X For the riot see thb careful analysis of the sources in Mever. 
U.G.G., 24 ff. ' 

§ Bernabei in Notizie degli Scavi, March 1897; C. I. L., i. 552-6. 
A later inscription, C.I.L., i. 583, refers to the work of the commis- 
sioners in Cispadane Gaul. 

The adminis- 
tration of the 
Land Law. 


But it was one of those difficult and complicated undertakings 133 b.c. 
which cannot possibly be carried through without a certain 
measure of injustice. After the lapse of so many years the old 
Ager Publicus was not easy to identify. Many landlords, 
finding that their holdings were in excess of the legal amount, 
arranged fictitious sales ; * others had spent large sums on 
improving the lands they had taken over ; while in many cases 
the title-deeds and documents of sale were no longer to be 
found.t The moderate proprietors, who were stiU numerous 
among the Italians and allies, suffered particularly from these 
enquiries and cross-examinations. 

The dismay and uncertainty occasioned by the Commission The change in 
were particularly inopportune at this moment because Italian JStaire.*^"" 
cultivators, as we know from Pliny, were now just beginning 
to descry the latent possibilities of agricultural development.^ 
Many of these impoverished proprietors were seriously attempt- 
ing to discover more lucrative methods of cultivation. They 
had found it no longer possible to make a living on the old 
system by cultivating the vine and the olive for private use and 
growing corn for sale, and were now trying to grow no more 
com than they needed for home consumption, and to place 
oil and wine upon the market. Oil and wine not only fetched 
a relatively higher price than corn, but were also more easy to 
transport to customers at a distance. Economic crises in fact, 
as some of our contemporaries need to be reminded, are always 
due to the same general cause — the incompatibUity between 
old methods and new conditions. No mere legislative ex- 
pedients, however well-meant and weU-considered, can rescue 
a people from this difficulty. It can only be met by the slow, 
painful and unconscious labour of the nation itself, hy a united 
effort to make the conditions of production correspond to the 
needs of each succeeding age, and to make these the basis of 

* Appian, B. C, i. i8. 

t Appian, B. C, i. i8. See the excellent book byCallegari, L. S. C, 
Padua 1896. 

X I place the beginning of this transformation of rural Italy between 
130 and 120 B.C., relying on the very important passage in Pliny, N. H. 
xiv. 14, 94. Pliny declares that it was in 121 that Rome first became 
aware, through the cheapness of wine, of the effect of the change in 
cultivation. Reckoning for the slow growth of the vine, the change 
must have begun in the previous decade. Pliny does not speak of 
the olive ; but since, as we shall see, the olive was, together with the 
vine, the staple element in the new g,griculture, and since, as early 
as Cato, there is evidence of the substitution of olives for wheat (Max 
Weber, R. A. G., 223), it is not unjustifiable to regard the two new 
forms of cultivation as contemporaneous. 

I D 


133-123 B.C. a new and more harmonious civilisation. Unfortunately it 
was just when many of the Italian proprietors were engaged 
Suspension of in this cflEort that they found themselves interrupted by im- 
theLand Law. p^^jgjj^ politicians, who Were anxious to deprive them of their 
promising young vineyards for a compensation in broad acres 
of dreary-looking bog. This the Latins and allies not un- 
naturally resented, and they appealed to their old general 
Scipio .^milianus to intervene in their interest. Scipio pro- 
posed to the Senate and also carried through the Comitia a 
law providing that where the public or private ownership of 
land was in dispute the decision should be withdrawn from 
the three commissioners and given to the Consuls.* It was 
not surprising that after this the commissioners found little to 
do. The Consuls, who nearly always belonged to the opposite 
party, allowed the disputed cases to remain unsettled and the 
administration of the law was thus gradually suspended.t Once 
only, in 125, the Consul Marcus Fulvius Flaccus, a member 
of the Agrarian Commission and a friend of Tiberius, tried 
once more to bring up the question. He proposed to grant 
the Latins and allies citizen rightsj in compensation for the 
losses involved in jhe revision of the public lands ; but his 
attempt met with no success. 
Character and The abortive enterprise of Tiberius was taken up ten years 
ctius."^"**' °' later by his brother. Caius was far superior to Tiberius, both 
in character and intellect. At the time of Tiberius' assassina- 
tion he was but twenty years old, but in the ten years that 
followed he had given his enervated contemporaries a shining 
example of active public service and of personal conduct. 
He had been a member of the Agrarian Commission, and had 
taken some part in the political struggle which followed the 
death of his brother, always seeking to defend his memory 
and his work. Later he had served in several campaigns and 
had held a Quasstorship in Sardinia. But nothing was more 
abhorrent to him than the Hfe of the ordinary young Roman 
noble. So far from regarding his provincial position as provid- 
ing an outlet for self-indulgence and an opportunity of enrich- 
ment, he had lived the life of the common soldiers, looking 
after their comforts and spending his moneyupon their welfare.§ 
Nor had his military responsibiUties distracted him from wdder 
interests. He was an ardent reader and had found time, as 


Lange, R. A., iii. 22. t Neumann, G. R. V., 215 and 216 

Lange, R. A., iii. 26 ; Meyer, U. G. G., 17. 
Aul., Gell., XV. 12. 


Cicero tells us,* to perfect his oratorical style. Long hours of 133-123 b.c. 
quiet reflection and the bitter memory of his brother's un- 
availing martyrdom gradually drove him to take up and re- 
model the broken policy of social reform. 

Like Tiberius, Caius was profoundly impressed with the ideas of 
necessity of saving at least a part of the ancient order. But '^'""'• 
the great Gracchan idea of Conservative social reform was 
to undergo the fate which has since befallen analogous projects 
under similar conditions. It was to become transmuted by 
the force of circumstances into a programme of the most far- 
reaching and revolutionary scope, a programme which so far 
from preserving all that was worth preserving in the heritage of 
the past, would have contributed most powerfully to hasten its 
dissolution. The fate of Tiberius and his schemes had demon- 
strated that it was useless to try to remedy the distress at 
Rome without first breaking down, or at least humiliat- 
ing, the powerful faction of the great pubHc landlords; 
that the attempt to make a new peasant class out of the 
Roman proletariat was too simple to be practicable, and 
did not, in reality, touch the root of the difficulty. Caius 
had himself had opportunities, as Commissioner, of observing 
the difficulties and injustices which were inevitably involved 
in any redistribution of the public land. Moreover, even 
granting that the new proprietors would be zealous in culti- 
vating the lands assigned to them (which was by no means 
sure t), it would be no easy matter to re-endow these 400,000 
Roman citizens, now rulers of an extensive Empire, with the 
sterUng quahties of the old Roman spirit. The Roman of 
to-day was very different from his grandfather. The nation 
was by this time simply a small and exclusive oligarchy of 
landlords and traders, bankers and concession hunters, artisans, 
adventurers and loafers ; the metropoUs was peopled with a 
noisy, unprincipled and self-opinionated mob, thirsting for 
pleasure and excitement, for easy profits and quick returns. 
Such an oligarchy was the most intractable material for the 
reformer. To ask it for even the very smallest present sacrifice 

* Cic, Brut., xxxiii. 125. 

•(• We are unable to judge of the effects of the assignments made in 
accordance with the law of Tiberius. According to Livy, Per. 59-60, 
the number of Roman citizens, which in 130 was 318,823, rose in 124 
to 394.726, an increase which Beloch (I. B., 82) attributes to the Gracchan 
Land Laws. But in B.A.W. 351 Beloch regards the second figure as 
a mistake, and prefers to read 294,736, in which case there would 
be a diminution. Cf. I. Blasel, Die Motive der Gesetzgebung des C. 
Sempronius Gracchus, Trieste 1878 ; Lange, R. A., iii. 27. 


123 B.C. in return for the most sure and obvious future benefits, was 
to court a certain failure. No doubt it included within its 
ranks a number of people, particularly among the poorer 
classes, who were chafing at present conditions. But _ that 
was only because they could not satisfy their far from legitimate 
desires. Discontent and class hatred might induce them to 
give a vote in favour of reform ; but they would certainly not 
be disposed to make an active display of their patriotism by 
returning to a life involving greater labour, greater honesty, 
and greater simpUcity. Such were the ideas which caused 
Caius, during his long campaigns at a distance from Italy, 
entirely to transform the original projects of his brother. 
His first pro- When Caius returned from his last expedition to Sardinia 
gramme. ^^^ landed at Rome, he found a great and excited crowd await- 

ing him.* As the terror caused by the assassination of Tiberius 
gradually passed away from men's minds, the poorer classes 
had begun to look round for a champion and an avenger. The 
brother of the victim seemed marked out both by his qualities 
of character and the suspicions of the wealthy faction to be 
the man of their choice. This was the opportunity of which 
he had been dreaming. Carried away by the memory of his 
brother and the force of events, by the excitement of the people 
and the hostility of his enemies, above all by his own headstrong 
and passionate genius, Caius unfolded his long-meditated 
programme of reform. Some of the ideas in it were taken 
over, in an altered form, from his brother, and some were 
entirely his own ; all of them were bold and original, and 
none erred on the side of safety. After an election in which 
a large number of country voters took part, he was elected 
Tribune of the people for the year I23.t His first attempt 
had for its object the isolation of the landlord party by depriv- 
ing them of the support of their natural alUes and dependents.^ 
The capitalists and the Senators had always worked harmo- 
niously together in filling their pockets at the expense of the 
State. But the capitalists had of late years been growing 

* Diod., Sic, xxxiv. fr. 24. f Plut., C. Grac, 3. 

X The order in which the bills of Caius were produced, and above all 
the question how they were distributed between his two tribuneships, 
have been greatly discussed, for Plut., C. Gr., 4-6, Appian, B. C.,i. 21-23, 
Livy, Per. 60, Velleius, ii. 6, all give different accounts. See Callegari, 
L. S. C, 53 fi. The best solution is to follow Callegari in inferring 
the order of the laws from internal evidence. Caius prepared his pro- 
posals on a well thought-out plan, and the bills which were to lead 
up to his goal naturally preceded those which he regarded as his final 


increasingly restless. It was too mortifying to their pride 123 b.c. 
and their ambition, too constant a check upon their financial 
undertakings, that the administration of the law-courts and 
the army should be left permanently in the hands of the aris- 
tocrats, for whose debts and extravagances they were them- 
selves the paymasters. Caius, taking up one of the ideas of 
Tiberius, proposed a lex judiciaria, providing that the perma- 
nent Commissions (quaestiones perpetuae), which tried accusations 
against Governors and other crimes of a political nature, were 
in future to be composed of knights instead of Senators, at 
the same time very probably extending their powers.* He 
was seconded by one of his colleagues, Manius Acilius Glabrio, 
who proposed a far-reaching measure, the lex Acilia Repe- 
tundarum, against the extortions of provincial Governors. 
These changes were distinctly in the interests of the rich 
financiers, who woidd henceforward be assured of the law- 
courts as a weapon against the Senators. But Caius went on 
to throw them a still more considerable bait. The kingdom 
of Pergamus, which Rome inherited ten years before, had 
after the suppression of one national rising become an integral 
part of the Roman Empire ; it was now sorely in need of some 
permanent reorganisation. Reversing the precedent set by 
his father in Spain, Caius proposed to levy throughout the 
province of Asia, as it was now called, in addition to the ordi- 
nary customs and harbour dues, the Roman tax of one-tenth 
upon all produce, and a new tax on the Scriptura or farming 
out of public lands ; and he stipulated that the collection of 
these taxes should be leased out, not to local capitahsts as in 
Sicily, but at Rome, under the direction of the Censors, for 
the exclusive benefit of the Roman financiers. 

The fuU meaning of these arrangements was soon made Cains' Corn 
clear. Caius hoped to use the great sums that the State was ""' 
to draw from these leases, and from an increase in the custom 
dues on all objects of luxury imported from the East,t in buying 
the support of the poorer classes for his reforms. He intended 
to insure them once and for aU against any repetition of the 
partial famines from which Rome, even in good years, was 
never entirely immune. He therefore proposed, in a lex 
frumentaria, that the provision of corn should become a State 

* Cf. Liv., Epit. 60 ; App., B. C, i. 22 ; Florus, iii. 13 ; Tac, Ann. 
xii. 60 ; Diod. Sic. xxxiv. fr. 25 ; Plut., C. Gr., 5. On the diver- 
gences between these texts and possible reconciliations, see Callegari 
L. S. C, 104 ff. t Velleius, ii. 6. 




activity in ad- 

123 B.C. obligation, and that the Government should provide Rome 
with wheat by selling it at the ridiculously low price of 
[a gallons.] 6J asses the modius.* He may also have thought that this 
wholesale purchase of wheat throughout Italy would be 
profitable to the owners of land, and that the construction of 
enormous granaries at Rome would bring work to contractors and 
labourers.t Nor was this all. For the benefit of the peasants 
and the city poor he proposed to put the laws of Tiberius again 
into force, and to restore to the three Commissioners by a new 
Land Law the power of deciding whether a piece of land were 
public or private property.! To this he added, following out, 
we may suppose, one of his brother's ideas, a lex militaris, 
fixing seventeen as the lowest age for enrolment in the army, 
and decreeing that the soldiers should be clothed at the expense 
of the Treasury.§ Finally, in a lex viaria, he produced a big 
scheme for the construction of new roads in different parts 
of Italy, more particularly in the south, thus at once giving work 
to contractors and workmen, and facilitating the sale of agri- 
cultural produce. 

By thus appealing immediately and directly to his electors 
with such an interesting and hopeful selection of schemes, 
some of them agreeable to the rich financiers, others to the 
contractors, others to the poorer citizens and land-holders, 
by making himself, in other words, the central figure in a huge 
coalition of different groups and interests, Caius might easily 
have carried through every item on his programme, and become 
the most powerful and popular, as he was already the busiest, 
man in Rome.{{ For indeed he spared no pains in the promo- 
tion of his task. His unfailing energy and power of work formed 
a strange contrast to the indolence of the average Roman 
noble of his day. Not satisfied with merely sketching the 
outUnes of a great scheme of policy, he attended personally 
to every detail in its execution. He signed the contracts 
and watched over the construction of the granaries in Rome 
and the roads all over Italy ; he had the roads laid out on a 
new and improved scale, and provided them for the first time 
on record with milestones. His house, in which he worked, 

* App., B. C, i. 21 ; Liv., Per. 60 ; Hut., C. Gr., 5 (according to 
whom only the poor were to benefit by the arrangement). 

t App., B. C, i. 23. 

t This is a conclusion from a passage of Livy (Per. 60) where the 
lex Agraria of Caius is declared to be identical with that of Tiberius, 
Cf. Neumann, G. R. V., 236 ; Callegari, L. S. C, 80 £E. 

§ Plut., C. Gr.. 5. ; II Diod. Sic, xxxiv. fr. 25. 


as at a Government Office, from morning till night, became 122 b.c. 

the resort of contractors and labourers and applicants for 

employment, as well as of all the intellect of Rome.* He 

had, in fact, adopted a policy for the encouragement of trade 

and industry which might have given the democratic party 

its marching orders for the whole of the next century. But, 

by the strangest of delusions, Caius imagined that this policy 

was to take him in an entirely opposite direction, to the partial 

if not complete restoration of Roman society to its ancestral 

and primitive conditions. 

On his re-election, by a large majority, to the tribuneship caius' 
in the following year, he advanced to a still more novel proposal. Colonial laws. 
Owing to the influx of artisans, traders, adventurers, and 
professional men of all kinds into Rome, very serious incon- 
veniences had resulted. The supply of provisions had become 
a grave problem ; the price of food and accommodation was 
continually rising and the condition of the people was increas- 
ingly wretched. Meanwhile all over the rest of Italy there was 
a continual exodus from the towns and the country districts. t 
The new Corn Law, so far from remedying, had only intensified 
the difficulty ; moreover it was a serious charge upon the State 
Treasury, which was already sufficiently depleted by the 
Spanish War. Rome was suffering, in fact, from over-popula- 
tion. What was needed was to induce a certain number of 
financiers and merchants to estabhsh themselves in other 
towns, drawing some of the needy metropolitan proletariat 
after them. Caius fixed his eyes on three points of the Medi- 
terranean coast : SquiUace, Taranto, and Carthage. Squillace [Scyiietium.] 
was already a custom-house for Asiatic imports. Taranto had 
long been famous for its commerce and its wealth. Surely 
the Roman merchants who traded with Greece, Macedonia, 
and the East would live far more conveniently at Taranto 
and SquiUace, re-named Neptunia and Minervia, than at 
Rome. As for Carthage, her commerce had, it is true, been 
swallowed up by Rome, but Roman traders who did business 
with Africa woidd no doubt find it profitable to hve there ; as 
a matter of fact, a considerable number of them had already 
estabhshed themselves at Cirta. The old Carthage seemed 
a natural site for the creation of a new Roman town, to bear 
the appropriate name of Junonia. Cafus proposed therefore 
to send out colonising expeditions to Squillace, Taranto and 

* Plut., C. Gr., 6. 

t Cf. Sic. Flac, de cond. agr., i. p. 136-7. 



122 B.C. 

The Italian 

Caius' loss of 
and morder. 

Carthage, composed, not of the usual indigent settler class, 
but of well-to-do people,* traders or capitahsts, who were to 
be bribed with the promise of large concessions of land. 

These bills were also passed, although not it appears without 
difficulty : for any attempt to reduce the population of Rome 
was certain to clash with a good many interests. Caius, 
bhndly self-confident after his -previous successes, now ven- 
tured upon his master stroke — the supreme idea which he had 
meditated from the first. He proposed to take up the sugges- 
tion of Marcus Fulvius Flaccus, and confer the rights of Roman 
citizenship upon aH the Italians.f His object was as simple 
as it was revolutionary — to make the Roman Empire into an 
ItaUan Empire, by granting the entire population of the penin- 
sula a share in the benefits and responsibilities of power. The 
Itahans were more numerous and less debased than the popula- 
tion of the metropoUs. The descendants of the yeomen who 
had saved Italy from the African were to be called to the more 
difficult work of governing what they had conquered. Such 
was the far-reaching idea of Caius. Rome was to be the head 
of a vigorous ItaHan nation, and the vast fabric of Empire 
was henceforth to rest, not upon a municipal oligarchy and a 
clique of corrupt financiers, but upon the vigorous manhood 
of the Itahan countryside. The sleepy and forgotten towns 
which had once been centres of commerce and civilisation were 
to be restored to their old-time glories, and their citizens who 
had fled into the metropolis were to be drawn back to their 
old homes. The congestion which threatened the nerve centres 
of Empire would be removed at one stroke. The clear vision 
of Caius had pierced through the future to the greatest of all 
the problems in Roman history ; but, wdth an illusion not 
uncommon among statesmen, he hoped to accompHsh single- 
handed a task at which six generations of his successors were 
still destined to labour. 

For indeed these magnificent ideas were still somewhat 
premature. The project of granting Roman citizenship 
to the Itahans was to nobody's taste. It suited the poor as 
httle as the rich. The proletariat was afraid that an increase 
in the number of citizens would lessen the profits to be derived 
from wars and elections, and diminish the opportunities for 

* This salient point, which throws light on Caius' real idea and 
shows what he expected his colonies to become, is related by Pint, 
C. Gr., 9. Callegari, L. S. C, 99, has seized its importance. 

t Velleius, ii. 6 ; App., B. C, i. 23 ; Plut., C. Gr., 5 ; Cic, Brut, 
xxvi. 99. The details gf the proposal are obscure, 


games and other public amusements.* The landlord faction izi b.c. 
was not slow to profit by its opportunity. Skilful manoeuvring 
soon made havoc of Caius' assured popularity. Some of the 
authorities assert that at the elections for 121 he was actually 
not re-elected ; while according to others he had so small a 
majority that it was easy to falsify the votes and declare him 
defeated. Thus, at the end of his second tribunate, Caius 
was driven back into private hfe. He remained quietly in 
retirement until his enemies proposed to break up his Car- 
thaginian colony, when, unable to hold back any longer, he 
summoned a meeting and attempted to speak. In the excite- 
ment that prevailed among both parties wild scenes took place. 
The enemies of Caius rushed to the Senate to demand the 
proclamation of a state of siege, and so misrepresented the 
situation that even the more moderate senators were frightened 
into repressive measures. A state of siege was hurriedly pro- 
claimed, and the Consul, Lucius Opimius, seized his opportunity 
to cut down Caius and a number of his partisans in the streets. 
Thus perished one of the four founders of the Roman Empire, 
and perhaps the most far-seeing statesman Rome ever produced. 

The reformer was dead ; but his reforms did not die with Changes in 
him. Their fate was indeed no less tragic than his own. sSSety. 
They were applied as a remedy ; but they acted as a poison. 
They were intended to preserve all that was best in old Roman 
society; but all that they did was to hasten its dissolution. 
The destruction of Carthage and Corinth had already worked 
serious havoc in Roman hfe, spreading luxury and ostentation 
among the upper classes, distaste for work among the lower, 
and wastefulness and intemperance in all ranks of society. But 
aU previous records were eclipsed when Rome entered upon the 
heritage of the King of Pergamus. In the very year that 
Caius Gracchus died the vines planted ten years before gave 
a copious vintage, part of which was carried to Rome, barrels 
being opened in all the streets.f Nobles and capitaHsts 
and landlords of every class began to invest in slaves, thus 
sweUing the slave trade to unprecedented dimensions.! The 
belongings of the King of Pergamus were brought to Rome 
to be sold by auction, and bid for by a crowd of excited con- 
noisseurs ; dispersed among the rich houses of Rome and Italy 
they diffused an extravagant taste for pictures and statues, 

* Meyer, Orat. Rom., frag. (Tubingen, 1842) p. 201. 

+ Pliny, N. H., sdv. 96. 

j We owe this important feict to Strabo, xiv. v. 2- 


125-115 B.C. for goldsmiths' work and luxurious furniture.* As the upper 
classes at Rome and througjiout Italy thus increased the burden 
of necessary expenses, they were ceaselessly tormented by the 
old spectre of debt. It is a problem which inevitably recurs 
whenever an ambitious plutocracy has grown up by the side 
of an old aristocracy, and is endeavouring to make money an 
adequate substitute for birth and breeding. Ther^ were a 
small number of old houses which had succeeded, thanks to 
careful management, in amassing large fortunes, amongst others 
the families of Pompeius, Metellus and Licinius Crassus.t 
But these were exceptions. On the whole the younger genera- 
tion was vain and unprincipled, sometimes tempted to indulge 
a whim for art or science^ nearly always unstable, thriftless 
and debauched. Meanwhile, the knights were growing rich 
on the spoils of the old kingdom of Pergamus. Caius with his 
law on Asiatic administration had done a novel and lucrative 
piece of business for the Roman capitalists and their friends ; 
numerous syndicates were formed at Rome to farm the new 
taxes, and skilful financiers readily invested their capital. If 
Rome's military and commercial expansion seemed to have 
reached a natural limit, the financial side of Imperialism 
promised new outlets for her energies in the coming age. 
Exodns and In almost every middle-class family — and middle-class 

the'yonng" families were still numerous, though it is probable that their 
JaSon"""""" fertility decreased from generation to generation — there were 
children who were driven from home by the agricultural 
depression to make a living in the world. They found their 
way to a neighbouring town or to the capital, where they 
embarked on a commercial or professional career ; or they 
enlisted, perforce or by choice, in the legions and moved about 
on the look-out for a favourable chance. Settlements of 
Italian traders spread rapidly throughout the Mediterranean 
basin ; one was formed just about this time at Alexandria.! 
Many Itahans emigrated to Asia, where they were attached 
to the great tax-collecting syndicates and devoted themselves 
to usury. Others engaged in the slave-trade, or in the supply 
of those Asiatic products which were now finding an ever widen- 
ing market at Rome. In this way Delos, for instance, recovered 
all its old prosperity and became the home of rich merchants 
from Italy, Greece, Syria and Palestine. Sometimes the 


Pliny, N. H., xxxiii. xi. 148. 

Cf. Drumann, G. R., ii. 37 ff., iv. 70 ff., 318 ff. 

Homolle, B. C. H., viii., 127. 


father of a couiitr7 family, hoping that his son might rise above 125-115 b.c. 
his class, sent him, regardless of expense, into some neighbouring 
town to study for the Roman Bar ; if he made progress in his 
career he might some day secure the help of a rich and powerful 
patron, and find his way to high office in the State.* Thus 
the moderate proprietors and yeomen, who, in the days of 
Hannibal had kept a large part of the peninsula under cultiva- 
tion, were gradually disappearing. All over Italy the smaller 
properties were being merged into huge estates ; and the new 
landlords, anxious only to employ the cheapest form of labour, 
replaced the lazy and discontented free peasants who still 
remained with huge gangs of slaves imported from abroad. 
Thus the country population gradually streamed o£E to seek 
a fortune in the towns of Italy or in the provinces, or to rise 
to positions of authority at Rome among the exclusive nobility 
which still regarded the Empire as its own.t 

As the aristocratic tradition decayed and the old-fashioned Scaarus and 
virtues succumbed to the temptations of wealth, new forces 
became visible in the welter of society. Two figures may be 
taken as characteristic of the age. It is just about this time 
that we first note the appearance of that familiar social phe- 
nomenon, the self-made man. Marcus ^milius Scaurus, 
the son of a coal merchant in the equestrian order, is a good 
instance of his class. Education, a clever tongue, and a course 
of petty services to the oHgarchy, aided by a skilful affectation 
of austerity and virtue, successfully carried him to high office. 
He reached his first magistracy in the year of the death of 
Caius Gracchus, of whom he had been a fierce and determined 
opponent. His next attempt was upon the Consulship, which 
he filled in the year 115. J Very different from Scaurus, but 
quite as typical of the age, was Caius Marius. Marius was 
a man after the old style, with a lively intelligence untrained by 
education, simple in his habits, yet ambitious and an un- 
tiring worker. Starting life as an obscure knight at Arpinum,§ 

* We know two cases of this sort : Sertorius (Plut., Sert. 2), and 
M. Aemilias Scaurus (Aurel. Victor, De Vir. 111. Ixxii. i ; Val. Max. 
iv. 4, II ; Drumann, G. R., ii. 18 ff). These are not two isolated 
cases, but typical of what went on generally. 

t See in Driimann, G. R., the genealogical tables of the Metelli (ii. 6), 
the Domitii Ahenobarbi (iii. 12), the Julii (iii. 113), the Licinii Crassi 
(iv. 53), the Octavii (iv. 218). 

I Drumann, G. R., ii. 18. 

§ Madvig, K. P. S., 525, .has shown that there is no need to follow 
many editors in correcting, natus eguestri loco in Velleius ii. 11, 
into natus agresti loco to fit the later tradition that Marius was a peasant. 



The new 

125-115 B.C. he seems at first to have been a tax-farmer by profession; 
though he soon gave this up to seek his fortune in the army 
and politics. He first made his mark at the siege of Numantia, 
and his military record brought him to the Tribuneship in 119, 
in which position, though without money or followers or family 
connections, he did not hesitate to criticise the aristocracy 
and the proletariat with a refreshing indifference to the sus- 
ceptibilities of aU parties.* 

In spite of their great difference of temperament the two 
men are good representatives of their class. They stand for 
the new Italian bourgeoisie formed out of the old local middle- 
class in the various districts of Italy, which was beginning 
to shake off its age-long subjection to the aristocracy, and 
to dream of exercising a greater influence in Italy and the 
Empire. This Italian bourgeoisie was the nucleus of the first 
real ItaHan nation in history. It came into existence through 
the operation of very much the same causes as have contributed, 
between 1848 and the present day, to the creation of that 
Itahan bourgeoisie which is the nucleus of twentieth-century 
Italy. Such causes were the break-up of the old local and 
parochial system of life, the intermingling of the populations 
of the different districts, the emergence of Italy, under the 
changed conditions, as a single economic unit, the diffusion 
of the same culture and habits of mind over a large part of the 
upper and middle classes. People travelled easily from one 
city to another, and there were frequent inter-marriages between 
town and town. Intercourse of all sorts for personal or 
commercial reasons became common and usual. Latin drove 
out the local dialects and became the universal Italian language. 
The same customs, fashions and vices, the same training in 
Greek philosophy and Latin composition and oratory went 
the round of the Peninsula. 

The efforts of the decadent aristocracy to stay its descent and 
of the new bourgeoisie to hasten its rise served to accelerate 
the changes in social conditions. In the disorder produced 
by this dislocation of the whole framework of society personal 
considerations became more and more paramount. Every 
kind of selfishness — family interest, party interest, class 
interest, client interest — ran riot in Italy. Military operations 

According to Died. Sic, xxxiv. 35, fr. 38, and Plut., Mar., ^'^nd. 13, 
Marius came of an equestrian family. Madvig has adduced severa 
arguments^to show the greater likelihood of this tradition. 
* Neumann, G. R. V., 261. 

The new 
influences in 
foreign policy 


were suspended and the legions undermanned because the 125-115 b.c. 
uncertainty of payment had discouraged recruiting. For the 
State Treasury, in spite of a temporary relief from the revenue 
of Asia, was soon depleted anew through the expenses involved 
by the corn-dole,* and by the military outlay incurred by 
Caius Gracchus. Similar influences were manifest in the field 
of foreign policy. With no army behind them to back up their 
action, Roman statesmen became timid, hesitating and in- 
consistent. Except where there appeared to be no possible 
alternative, no fresh annexations of territory were made. 
Independent and neighbouring States were no longer even 
carefully watched. Since she had become mistress of the 
kingdom of Pergamus, Rome had by means of a vast system 
of protectorates extended her power far into the interior of 
Asia Minor, incorporating under her suzerainty the Republics 
of Rhodes, Cyzicus and Heraclea, and the federations of the 
Republics of Lycia and Galatia.f But she had abstained from 
any interference with the large and powerful kingdom of 
Pontus, stretching to the east of these protectorates along 
the southern coastline of the Black Sea, which had been formed 
at the beginning of the third century b.c, during the decom- 
position of the Empire of Alexander, out of a medley of popula- 
tions differing in language, customs and race, and was governed 
by the dynasty of the Mithridates, a family of Hellenised 
Persian nobles. In the west Rome had been forced in the 
interests of her ally Massiha, and to secure the line of communi- 
cation between Italy and Spain, to undertake a war against 
Bituitus, Eling of the Arverni, who had succeeded in estabHshing 
a kind of Empire over Gaul, and was acknowledged as supreme 
by most of the Celtic peoples living between the Alps and the 
Rhine. Bituitus had been conquered and taken prisoner, 
and the supremacy of the Arverni broken down ; but Rome 
had then stayed her hand. She had been satisfied with con- 
tracting alliances with the principal peoples of Gaul, amongst 
others the Aedui, and forming into a Roman province, 
under the name of Narbonese Gaul, the part of France that 
lies between the Alps and the Rhone. The Balearic Islands, 
too, had been annexed by one of the MeteUi in 121. But 
Rome had practically given up undertaking campaigns against 
barbarous tribes on the frontiers, or even within the frontiers 
of her Empire. 

* Cic. De OfE., ii., xxi. 72. 
t Reinachr, M. E., 86 ff. 



I2I-I1I B.C. 

Repeal of the 
Land Laws. 

The law of 
Thorius, and 
the abolitiOQ 
of common 

Thus just at the time when the demands of the aristocracy 
and the middle-class were steadily increasing, one great supply 
of wealth was cut off. How were the new expenses of living 
to be met ? The great landlords, for their part, did not hesi- 
tate to take action. Profiting by their sudden access of power 
after the murder of Caius, they carried through the Senate, 
the very year after his death, a law abolishing the inalienability 
of the lands assigned by the Commissioners. Two years after, 
in 119, the electors themselves decided on the repeal of the 
Gracchan Land Laws, enacting as a compensation that the 
sums brought in by the leasing of the public lands should be 
distributed among the people.* 

A still bolder step in the same direction was taken soon 
afterwards. A large number of people who had spent money 
on the cultivation of pubhc lands were alarmed by the Gracchan 
revision of the leaseholds, and desirous of some definite reas- 
surance. There were also a good many landlords who had 
run into debt owing to the general increase of expenditure, 
and were anxious to find new sources of revenue. Finally, a 
good many of the very people whom the Gracchi had settled 
on small holdings objected to the simple Hfe of the country, 
and were ready to sell the lands that the Commissioners had 
assigned to them. A bill skilfully drafted in ill by Spurius 
ThoriuSjt tribune of the people at the time, settled a number 
of the disputed questions in a manner satisfactory to all parties. 
All pubhc land which the Commissioners had declared to be 
legitimately occupied, land, that is, up to five hundred acres 
for the head of a family and an equal amount for his sons, 
was declared private property outright, which meant that 
they were inscribed in the register and could be sold, given 
away, or bequeathed.! The same provision was made with 
regard to aU public land which had been given in compensation 

* App. B. C, i. 27. According to Mommsen this law, which Appian 
wrongly attributes to Spurius Thorius, belongs to the year 119. See 
C. I. L., i., p. yj. 

t Neumann, G. R. V., 264 ff, and Karlowa, R. R. G., i. 433, appear 
to me, contrary to the opinion of Mommsen, to have successfully 
identified this as the real law of Spurius Thorius. Ciccotti, T. S., 
194, whose suggestive remarks on the Gracchan Laws are worthy 
of study, follows Mommsen. This law, of which a short analysis 
is given in App. B. C, i. 27, is fortunately in greater part extant. 
The inscription, one of the most important documents for the social 
history of Rome, may be found in C. I. L., i., pp. 79-86, or in Bruns, 
Pontes juris Romani antiqui (Tubingen, i860), pp. 16-35. 

X Lex Thoria, i, i. The best explanation of pro vetere possessore 
appears to be that of Mommsen, C. I. L., i., p. 87. 


for land taken away at the time of the revision of titles,* and to m b.c. 
any land which had been broken up or distributed in con- 
sequence of the Gracchan laws.f Similar arrangements were 
made regarding all pubUc land which had been occupied after 
the Gracchan Taws, up to a Hmit of thirty acres, provided that 
they had been properly cultivated. J Moreover the jurisdic- 
tion of the Commissioners of the pubhc land, which had been 
so annoying to the large landlords, was abolished, and their 
powers transferred to the ordinary magistrates, who were almost 
always chosen from amongst the hereditary land-holding aris- 
tocracy. Finally the benefits of the law were to apply not only 
to Roman citizens, but also to the Latins and aUies.§ Furnished 
with these various provisions to suit all classes, the bill was easily 
passed into law. The pubUc land, thus made into private 
property, immediately increased in value. Landlords who 
were in debt could sell estates of which they had hitherto only 
enjoyed the usufruct. Men who had begun to put capital 
into the soil felt their confidence revived, and business in land 
was again actively taken up. These were all, of course, very 
considerable improvements : but the reverse side of the medal 
must not be overlooked. The immediate effect of the law was to 
deprive the State Treasury, already none too full, of resources 
which, in the vicissitudes of past centuries, had always been reUed 
upon for assistance. Enhghtened men could not help seeing the 
law in its true colours, as an attack by private interests upon the 
patrimony of the State. It is likely enough that its authors would 
hav« accepted the description, Its more permanent results, 
however, nobody on either side was in a position to predict ; 
as a matter of fact, they were considerable and aU for the good. 
It broke dovra. the last vestiges of the old Communism in 
land, and secured that practically the whole of Italy passed into 
private hands. It was an economic revolution very analogous 
to that which took place in European countries in the last 
century when all the property under Mortmain was sold 
to private owners. The law of Thorius is only one more 
instance of the rule that the work of historical characters 
must be judged by their motives and intentions rather than 
by the unsuspected consequences to which they so often give 

Whilst a decadent aristocracy and a young and aspiring 
bourgeoisie were thus engaged in squandering the old domain 

* Lex Thoria, i. 9. i; Id. u i. 

X Id. i. 3. § Id. i. 14. 

112 B.C. 

The decay 
of the aris- 

The Jugur- 
thine scandal. 


of the Roman state in Italy, the aristocracy was displaying the 
same careless impatience with a still more valuable heritage, 
the prestige of Rome throughout the world. There is perhaps 
no class of men in the world more blind to all moral distinctions 
than an aristocracy in its dechning years, when, straitened in 
its means and jealous of an ifatruding plutocracy, it is attempting 
to combine the hereditary privileges of its position with a 
rising standard of luxury and self-indulgence. The high 
fashionable society of Rome produced its full share of scandals. 
There were judges who had been openly bribed, governors 
who had committed atrocious exactions, senators who had 
filched lands belonging to the State. One instance will suffice 
to introduce us to a notable name. Lucius Cornelius Sulla, 
the last descendent of a distinguished but degenerate family, 
was a man of both intelligence and culture ; but he passed 
his time amidst actors, dancers, singers and buffoons, and had 
repaired the fortunes of his family by angling for the inheritance 
of a Greek courtezan.* But aristocracies, like empires, continue 
to command respect long after their true greatness has passed 
away. Romans little reahsed how, during the twenty years which 
preceded the Gracchi, self-indulgence and corruption, specula- 
tion and cynicism had eaten out the very heart of her aristo- 
cracy. In 112 a series of unexpected incidents suddenly brought 
home to them the full extent of the evil. 

Micipsa, King of Numidia, had died in 118, leaving as 
regent, and guardian of his two legitimate sons, a bastard son 
called Jugurtha. Jugurtha was both crafty and ambitious. 
He soon made away with one of his brothers and entered into 
a war with the other, provoking disturbances in which the 
Roman government was forced to intervene. It then appeared 
that the State which had repulsed Hannibal and laid Carthage 
in ashes had grown too old and powerless to meet a chief'- 
tain of nomadic and barbarous tribes. Jugurtha bought over 
the Commissioners sent out to keep watch over his intrigues, 
the senators charged with their prosecution, and the generals 
who were to meet him in battle. He did this so successfully 
that there was great difficulty in finding a single man among 
the nobUity who would wage war against lum in earnest, 
instead of using him merely as a mUch cow ; and it was only 
after much delay that an efficient commander was discovered 
in Metellus. This shameful scandal was more than the Roman 
electorate would tolerate. The democratic passions which had 
* Plut., Sulla, 1-2. 


been smouldering for a generation among the middle classes, 107 b.c. 

the proletariat and the capitalists, flared up in a moment 

to seize and consume all that still survived of the old respect 

for the aristocracy. The agitation which ensued marks the 

climax of the changes brought about hy the unrest of the 

time : by the ambitions of the rising generation, by the ideas 

of the philosophers, by the diffusion and vulgarisation of the 

Stoic doctrine of universal equality. It culminated in the 

election campaign of 107, when Marius was carried triumphantly 

to the Consulship. 

Marius had spent the last few years as praetor and pro- Marfus' eiec- 
praetor in Spain, and had gained wealth and distinction by consulship, 
a fortunate marriage with the sister of a certain Caius Julius 
Csesar, a man of noble but not particularly illustrious family,* 
which led to his adoption into the patrician house of the Julii. 
He was at that time serving as legate in the army of Metellus 
in Africa, where he was far from contented. The young 
aristocrats, who lorded it in the army lost no occasion of humiliat- 
ing the bourgeois tax-farmer who had risen from the ranks 
to be second in command.t Exasperated by his experiences in 
camp, and emboldened by the state of public opinion in Italy, 
Marius demanded leave of the Commander-in-Chief to go to 
Rome as a candidate for the Consulship in 107. MeteUus, 
who was an honest man, but shared the aristocratic prejudices 
of those about him, did his best to discourage him and prevent 
his departure. But Marius took offence at his patronage and 
high words were exchanged between the Consul and his legate. 
This was the making of Marius' fortune. When the public 
at Rome heard that Metellus was unwilling to permit a soldier 
with such a record to stand for election simply because he was 
not an aristocrat, Marius became the idol of the artisans and 
the peasants, the middle class and the financiers,! and his 
election was henceforth assured. 

Once installed in office he immediately demanded, and of Marius' Army 
course obtained, the command which had been entrusted ^°"^- 
to Metellus. But before leaving for Africa he took occasion 
to make a great change in the conditions of military service. 
He extended the levy to poor men who were not inscribed in 
any of the five classes of landowners, and who according to 
the ancient constitution had no right to bear arms. § The 

* Pauly, R. E., iv., 1557. 

t Diod. Sic. xxxiv., 35-38. t Sail, B. J., 73. 

§ Sail, B. J., 86, Aul. Gell., xvi., x. 14 ; Val. Max., ii., 3, i. 
I E 

Defeat of 


107 B.C. merchants, tax-farmers and rich landowners, who made up 
the five classes, had no longer either the aptitude or the taste 
for military service. For the last thirty years enlightened 
statesmen had felt the urgent need for the re-modelling of 
the army, and military reform had of course been in the fore- 
front of the Gracchan programme. Marius did not shrink 
irom the most radical measures, or from methods even more 
decisive and revolutionary than those of Caius Gracchus 
himself. Instead of labouring at difficult and doubtful schemes 
for reviving the strength of the old yeoman class, which was 
the original recruiting ground for the legions, he raised his 
levies from amongst the poor in town and country, probably 
without the least suspicion of all the changes that this inno- 
vation would entail in the political and military organisation 
of Rome.* Then he set out with confidence on his African 

With the help of Bocchus, King of Mauretania, and his 
quaestor Sulla, Marius at length, succeeded in bringing Jugurtha 
to bay. The campaign was rendered memorable by the 
exploits of SuUa, who gave proofs of a physical energy and a 
fertility of diplomatic resource which had not been suspected 
in a young man of such dissolute antecedents. Jugurtha was 
finally carried to Rome in chains. Part of his kingdom was 
added to the province of Africa ; of the rest, some was given 
to Bocchus and some to a brother of Jugurtha. But the defeat 
of this petty chieftain had cost seven years of negotiations 
ii2-io6 B.C. and war, a serious blow to the prestige of a great Empire ; and 
when it had been secured, Italy was so enfeebled by the continu- 
ance of social disorder that she seemed quite unfit to meet the 
new and unexpected dangers which confronted her shortly 

In that kingdom of Pontus, which had hitherto remained 
almost outside the ken of Roman statesmen, Mithridates 
Eupator, a young sovereign of great intelligence and ambition, 
had, in 107, succeeded to the throne of his fathers. Aided by 
Diophantes, a skilful Greek from Sinope, Mithridates had 
within a very few years won a great reputation throughput the 
Orient as the champion of Greek civilisation against the forces 
of barbarism. He had saved the Greek colonies in the 
Black Sea from the domination of the Scythians and had in- 
corporated the Crimea in his dominions. Encouraged by 

• Cf. for this change E. Baroni, I grandi capitani sino alia Rivolu- 
zione Francese, Turin, 1898, Annibale, 32 ff. 

MItbridates in 
the Crimea. 


these successes, he had then attempted to dominate all the 105 b.c. 

eastern basin of the Black Sea and to extend the borders of the 

old kingdom of Pontus south-eastward to the Euphrates. He 

had entered into relations with the barbarous populations of 

Sarmatians and Bastarni, who were wandering between the 

Danube and the Dnieper, with the Gallic tribes which had 

settled in the valley of the Danube, and with the Thracians 

and Illyrians.* The Scythian kings who had been expelled from 

the Crimea fled to Rome for aid, and Rome was just beginning 

to take an interest in her dangerous Eastern neighbour t when 

she was faced with far more serious trouble almost at her 


In the year 105 the pro-Consul Quintus Servilius Caepio The cimbri 
and the Consul Cneius Manlius Maximus, both members of ^oSj/*'*''' 
the old aristocracy, were sent to repel an invasion of the Cimbri e'»'»»»y' 
and Teutones, two German tribes who had been attracted 
into Gaul by the destruction of the Empire of the Arverni, 
and who, having swept through Gaul, were now advancing 
on Italy. But the two Roman generals were old persond 
enemies, and they had not been able, even in the presence of 
the common foe, to forget their own dissensions ; thus the 
campaign had ended in a disastrous defeat. It was about this 
time, apparently in the spring of 104, that Mithridates, who 
had for some time past been negotiating an alliance with the 
King of Bithynia, invaded Paphlagonia and expelled its native 
princes. The Paphlagonians, who were under the suzerainty 
of the Republic, appealed to Rome for assistance. Mithridates, 
taught by Jugurtha, sent ambassadors to the metropolis to 
corrupt the Senate.J But at Rome the democratic party 
was now aU powerful. The disgust inspired by the African 
scandals, the successes of their popular hero in the war against 
Jugurtha, the defeat of the aristocratic generals in the campaign 
against the Cimbri, had all weakened the position of the Senate. 
The democracy was showering affronts and accusations upon 
the historic nobility of Rome, and had already compelled it 
to accept, after an interval of only three years, the re-election of 
Marius to the Consulship, with the prospect of conducting the 
Cimbric campaign. Thus the ambassadors of Mithridates arriv- 
ing gifts in hand, were received with hostile popular demonstra- 
tions directed by the tribune and demagogue Lucius Appuleius 
Satuminus ; § and the Senate was forced to pacify the people by 

* Reinach, M. E., 57 ff. t ^i- 95- 

% Id. 95 and 96. § Niccolini in S. I. F. C, v. 476. 

Marius' pre- 
agfainst the 


IO4-I0Z B.C. sending a diplomatic mission to the east, and charging the prxtor 
Antonius to keep watch over the province of Cilicia. But 
Antonius, under the influence of gold from Pontus, not only 
refrained from forcing Mithridates and Nicomedes to evacuate 
Paphlagonia, but even allowed them to occupy Galatia.* 
Fortunately, thanks to Marius, the situation in the north 
had meanwhile improved. The Cimbri and the Teutones, 
instead of marching into Italy after the defeat of the two 
Consuls retired to Gaul and Spain. Marius had therefore time 
to complete his military reforms. He aboUshed the maniple 
formation, and did away at the same time wdth the distinction 
between the legions of Roman citizens and the cohorts of 
allies, organising the legions in the same way as the Italian 
contingents, in cohorts which were more compact, heavier 
and more uniform than the maniples, and could therefore be 
composed of soldiers of less individual efficiency, recruited from 
amongst the dregs of the population. He also perfected the 
equipment, the pUum and the transport, and devoted himself 
actively to training his new levies. 

While he was thus preparing for his campaign, the popular 
party at Rome was going from success to success. Disregard- 
ing the hostility of the aristocracy and in the face of every 
precedent, it elected Marius to the Consulship for several 
successive years. It placed more rigorous checks upon the 
dishonesty of provincial governors and threw open to popular 
election the colleges of the priests, which had hitherto been 
filled up by selection from amongst a smaU number of noble 
families. All the ambitious politicians of the day had joined 
its ranks ; the rich financiers looked kindly upon it, and there 
were even many moderate Conservatives who gave benevolent 
consideration to its programme of social and political reform. 
It was an innocent and almost fashionable diversion to be in 
favour of Land Bills which were always being proposed and 
never being put into execution.f Many people began to hope 
that the relief of their unhappy country would come from 
the party which had inherited the traditions of the Gracchi. 

* Reinach, M. E., ^j. 

t Neumann, G. R. V., 394-412. See the speech on the Land Bill 
of Philippus in 104 in Cic. de Off. ii. xxi., 73. See also Busolt, N. J. P. P. 
141 and 321 ff., who shows that the fragments of Diodorus relating 
to the Gracchi, which are full of sympathy for their Land Laws but 
strongly opposed to their political reforms, are derived, probably 
through Posidonius, from RutiUus Rufus, a distinguished and honour- 
able Conservative at the beginning of the first century. 

Growing: in- 
fluence of the 
popular party, 


These expectations were soon strikingly confirmed by the 102 b.c. 
triumphs of its champion. Marius crushed and annihilated 
the Barbarians in two signal victories, at Aix in 102, and at [Aquae 
Campi Raudi (near VerceUi) in the following year, and thus *^ *■ 
finally succeeded in disembarrassing the Empire of these pre- 
datory hordes. On his return to Rome he was saluted with the 
title of the Third Founder of the City after Romulus and 



Impoverishment, discontent, and moral disorder in Italy at 
the time of Marius' return from the Cimbric war — Pecuniary 
difficulties in all classes ; concentration of wealth ; power of 
capitalists ; weakness of government ; beginning of rivalry 
between the historic nobility and the rich bourgeois financiers 
— ^The intellectual proletariat — Growth of the franchise agita- 
tion among the Italians ; its causes — Growing turbulence of 
the democratic party at Rome — ^Ambitions of Marius ; his 
coalition with the demagogues — ^The sixth Consulship of 
Marius, and the revolution of Saturninus — Fall of Marius and 
return of the aristocrats to power — Spirited foreign policy — 
Growing hostility between nobility and capitalists — The 
greatest judicial scandal in Roman history : the trial of Ruti- 
lius Rufus — Livius Drusus ; his bills and franchise proposal — 
Capitahst opposition ; assassination of Drusus — Insurrection 
of the Italians ; the Senate makes partial concessions to the 
insurgents — Outbreak of the Mithridatic war — Economic crisis 
in Italy ; agitation for the diffusion of Italians through the 
thirty-five tribes — ^Mithridates invades Asia — Proletarian 
revolt against the Italian plutocracy ; massacre of resident 
Italians — ^The Senate entrusts Sulla with the Mithridatic cam- 
paign — Revolution of Marius and Sulpicius Rufus. 

The coming Italy had long been living in the apprehension of a great social 
up eav . upheaval. At the time which we have now reached, just a 
hundred years before Christ, the day of reckoning was felt at 
last to be at hand. Yet it would be a mistake to imagine that 
decadence and ruin filled the whole of the picture. Even amid 
the chaos of society and politics there were promising symptoms 
Signs of pro- of intellectual advance. The diffusion of Greek philosophy, 
the progress of education and the increase of wealth had made 
men more sensible of the severity of the old legal code, and the 
stupid and barbarous superstitions which it embodied. The 
last vestiges of human sacrifice disappeared within a few years 
of this date.* The decrees of the Prators marked a continuous 

* The decree was passed in 97 (Pliny, N. H., xxx. i, 12.) 



development of the principles of equity : Roman law, as we 100 b.c. 
know it, began gradually to take shape. It was about this time 
for instance, that the lex Aebutia swept away the cumbrous 
and pedantic machinery of the so-called legis actiones, replacing 
it by a more flexible and rational procedure better suited 
to a business age.* Both in literature and art there was evidence 
of considerable activity. Nobles and merchants began to 
build handsome palaces in the metropoUs, using marbles from 
Hymettus,t and other exotic materia^ in place of the familiar 
ItaHan travertine. Literary dilettantism became a prevaUing 
fashion : distinguished senators dabbled in history and philo- 
sophy, and scribbled verses both in Latin and in Greek. There 
were orators to be heard in the Forum, such as Antonius and 
Licinius Crassus, who had elaborated their style with care 
upon Greek models.! The arts of Greece and Asia found 
an ever widening circle of admirers, and Greek sculptors and 
painters, among them even a woman, laia of Cyzicus,§ were 
employed in increasing numbers by wealthy patrons in the 

Yet in whichever direction we look, whether at political or impoverish- 
social conditions or at the sphere of individual morality, we "rlstoCTacy 
see signs of encroaching disorder and decay. The rise in the o^^n^**' 
standard of living was forcing the old aristocracy into strange 
shifts for a livelihood : some kept afloat by peculation or ex- 
tortion or the simpler expedient of debt ; || others by acquaint- 
ance or marriage connection, whoUy regardless of appearances, 
with wealthy tax-farmers or financiers. Many of the country 
proprietors studied agriculture in the writings of the Greeks, 
or in the Carthaginian treatise of Mago, which had been trans- 
lated by order of the Senate. They borrowed a Httle capital, 
planted olives and vineyards, and tried to improve their methods 
of cultivation. But want of experience, together with difficul- 
ties of transport, imperfect organisation, and the high rate of 
interest, generally ended by bringing failure both upon the 
experiments and those that made them.lT Moreover, the law 

* Bonfante, D. R., 493. t Pl™y. N. H., xxxvi. 3, 7. 

{ Cic, De Oratore, i., iv. 14. § Brunn, G. G. K., ii. 394. 

II Cic, De Off., ii., xiv. 50. Drumann, G. R., iv. 6, and 120, give 

^ Varro, R. R., i. 8, i, says that in his time, that is at a period 
when, as we shall see, vines were a great source of wealth to Italy, 
there were many people who declared that vine-growing was not 
remunerative. This was an opinion which must certainly have 
survived from the disappointments suffered by the first cultivators, 
who attempted vine-growing on a large scale, 


100 B.C. of Spurius Thorius, by converting so large a part of the public 
land into private property, had encouraged landlords to be 
extravagant, and thus, after a burst of short-lived prosperity, 
ended by leaving them worse off than before. 
Thenewedu- These tendencies were only accentuated by the spread of 
produc^^'** education. In the metropoHs and in the Latin and allied 
towns new schools of rhetoric were opening their doors to 
train young ItaUans in a common language and a national 
oratory ;* and Latin gained ground daily, both as a spoken 
and a written language, upon the Sabellian and Oscan directs 
of the countryside.t But this new and coveted culture was 
as yet out of touch with the life of the community. Many 
of the young advocates turned out by the schools found neither 
. patrons to befriend them, nor clients to plead for ; and emigra- 
tion into the provinces became a tempting and often a necessary 
expedient. Many Italians made fortunes in the slave trade, 
which was now largely in the hands of the pirates ; for the few 
slaves captured in war and trade wdth the barbarians no longer 
sufficed for the increasing demand.^ Delos became a huge 
slave market for the whole of the Mediterranean basin ; and 
many a young Italian fresh from school sold his manuscripts 
of Homer and Plato to make a living as a buccaneer. Others 
found their way into Egypt, or oftener still to the new province 
of Asia, where, thanks to the arrangements of Caius Gracchus, 
the exploitation of the old kingdom of Pergamus had proved 
immensely profitable. The tax-farmers, all of them either 
Romans or Italians, enjoyed the open patronage of the governors 
in their systematic pillage of the province. There were few 
devices either of fraud or violence which their ingenuity left 
untried. They would force the natives into debt in order to 
pay the taxes, and thus eventually despoil them of all their 
goods : while, by agreement with their aUies the pirates, they 
laid hands on every unfortunate prisoner who was available 
for sale into Italy, No wonder that Asia came to be regarded 
as a happy hunting ground for millionaires. 
The new line But there were far more, of course, who went under, and the 
of cleavage, glaring contrast between the ill-gotten gains of the few and 
the penury of the many did much to accentuate the general 
unrest. A new line of cleavage appeared in Italian society. 

* Suet., de clar. rh., i and 2. Cic. Brut. xlvi. 169. See also Cic. 
de Orat. i. 4. 

■f Budinnskzi, die Ausbreitung der lateinischen Sprache, 22-26. 
I Strabo, xiv. 5, 2. 


On the one side was the great host of men who had lost all they 100 b.c. 
had to lose in the world, the bankrupt traders and ruined land- 
owners who were to be found in every corner of Italy; on 
the other, a small and grasping chque of parvenu millionaires. 
The moderate incomes, which might have bridged the 
gulf between the two, were gradually disappearing. It 
was a narrow and exclusive ring of capitalists, composed of 
a few surviving nobles, of some of the ancient Italian aristocracy 
and of knights,* plebeians,t and freedmen, which was thus 
accumulating land in Italy, wringing fortunes out of the 
imhappy natives of Asia, and paying for them wdth the universal 
detestation of their countrymen. 

Meanwhile the Treasury was empty, the army disorganised, Socui anarch; 
and the fleet which had conquered Carthage was left rotting d?fence!™^ 
in the harbours of Italy ; Rome had hardly strength enough 
to quell the slave revolts which were continually breaking out 
in Sicily and Campania. Yet she would soon need all the 
forces at her command. Mithridates, always on the alert, 
had profited by the Cimbric war to break his alliance with the 
King of Bithynia and to seize Cappadocia, while in Italy the 
rivalry between the financiers and the old aristocracy was 
gathering slowly to a climax. 

The knights had much to encourage them in the struggle. The knights 
Their wealth, their exercise of patronage, their newly acquired senate, 
right* in the law-courts all justified self-assertion. Although 
they generally left politics to the aristocrats, and stuck to 
business and money-making, they felt themselves the equals 
or even the superiors of the old bankrupt nobiUty.t It is 
probable that they had contributed largely to the recent 
successes of the popular party, and to the triumphant re- 
elections of Marius to the Consulship. AH this was not un- 
naturally resented by the aristocrats. Disgusted vnth the 
universal disorder, for which the intrusion of the plutocracy 
seemed the most obvious cause, embittered by the sting of 
unaccustomed poverty and by the insolence of their newly 
discovered rivak, they looked longingly back upon the days 
of their undisputed supremacy, and clamoured for rigorous 
legislation against the abuses of capitalism. They could not 

* Cic, pro Cluent, Ivi., 153. It seems likely that the Maecenas 
of whom Cicero speaks in this passage was the ancestor of the famous 
literary patron, who was a knight by origin. 

f Compare the case of Cains Octavius, a financier from Velletri 
who was grandfather of Augustus. Drumann, G. R., iv. 229 ff. 

X Cic, Pro Cluent, Ivi. 153. Pro Rab. Pos., vii. 16. 



loo B.C. forgive a member of their own class like Caius Julius Caesar, 
who bound himself by friendship and marriage with an obscure 
equestrian family,* or defied the ostracism of society by em- 
barking upon a business career.f 
The new popu- This incessant rivalry and unrest in the upper ranks of society 
lar party. ^^^ ^ ^^^^-j^ incitement to the democrats, who had for the last 
decade been resuming a vigorous agitation both in the Assembly 
and the Law-courts. But the old popular party too had fallen 
on evil days. It had decHned from the pinnacle to which the 
Gracchi and their enthusiasts had raised it. Two wild and 
insolent politicians, Saturninus and Glaucia, were the lead- 
ing popular agitators of the day. Though its leaders went 
on repeating the old invectives against the nobles, and bring- 
ing forward fresh Corn Laws just to flavour their abuse, no 
serious attempt at constructive legislation had been made. The 
task, had they known it, was indeed far beyond their powers ; 
for it was not lands to cultivate that the proletariat desired, 
but incomes that could be enjoyed without undue exertion.! 
The political In spite of the protests of the democrats and a succession of 
scandalous exposures, the chief posts were still largely monopo- 
lised by the lowest type of adventurer. The respectable 
members of both parties, excluded from a political career, 
found a cheap consolation in lamenting the evils of their 
times. Justice had become simply one more instrument of 
oppression in the hands of the wealthy. Fraud and violence, 
extortion and bribery, were the familiar incidents of public 
life. At Rome, as at Carthage in the days of her decline, 
money was fast becoming the sole goal of ambition, and the 
supreme measure of worth. Yet there were hundreds foolish 
enough to give up an assured, if modest, position in the country 
in order to risk their fortunes in some business venture : and 
many more who reduced themselves weU-nigh to bankruptcy 
to give a superior education to their children. The younger 
generation, flushed with the rhetoric of their school training, 

* These relations between the family of Caesar and the parvenus 
of finance and politics, which are important for the history of Caesar, 
are demonstrated by the marriage of the sister of the older Csesar 
with Marius, by the betrothal of the young Caesar with Cossutia, a 
rich heiress and daughter of a financier (Suet., Caes., i.), and by the 
marriage of Atia, Caesar's niece, with Caius Octavius, son of a rich 
financier from Velletri (Driimann, G. R., iv. 229 if.). We shall 
find that there are other facts to confirm the conjecture. 

f For instance, the father of Lucius Calpurnius Piso, Consul in 58. 
Cic, in Pis., xxxvi., 87. 

J Lange, R. A., iii., 72 ff. 


thought that a year or two's chattering in the Forum would 100 b.c. 
talk them into wealth and power. They produced a not un- 
natural reaction among the upper classes, where the opinion 
was commonly held that the spread of education was in itself 
an evil : that all it achieved was the manufacture of a 
superfluous intellectual proletariat of upstarts, agitators and 
criminals.* " To learn Greek is to learn knavery," was a 
proverb common on men's lips.t 

That there was some truth in the taunt is proved by the The increase 
corresponding increase of crime, which was connived at and 
fomented by the authorities. Murder, poisoning, theft, 
assassination, even family tragedies, became alarmingly fre- 
quent. The Roman household no longer fulfilled the disci- 
plinary and judicial functions that had been given it by the old 
constitution, and the domestic tribunal was regarded as a 
mere relic of a bygone age. The father of a family, so far 
from bearing rule over his wife and children, was very often 
unable even to secure their respect. There was a large category 
of crimes committed by women and young persons which went 
entirely unpunished, being still outside the cognisance of the 
law, and no longer dealt with by the famUy. Moreover, even 
recognised offences, when committed by Roman citizens, often 
evaded a penalty. The rough and primitive provisions of the 
ancient penal code knew no other punishments to the person 
beyond flogging or death. Imprisonment was not recognised 
as a penalty, prisons serving merely for the detention of the 
accused before being brought up for trial. Flogging and the 
death penalty having been aboUshed for Roman citizens, there 
was no alternative but exile ; and exile still meant what it 
had meant in the old days when Rome was an isolated town 
among a number of hostile rivals — a convenient retirement 
to Palestrina or Naples. And even this not very formidable [Praeneste.] 
prospect was easily averted by a little skilful expenditure. 
Roman citizens, in fact, were practically immune from every 
sort of penal jurisdiction. 

Hence the increasing desire among the Italians to obtain The franchise 
the privileges of citizenship. For the agitation was now ^s'**'"""' 
spreading far and wide through the peninsula to the consterna- 

* See Suet., de cl. rh., i. for the edict published against the schools 
of Latin rhetoric at Rome by the Censors Cneius Domitius Ahenobarbus 
and L. Licinius Crassus in 92, which was no doubt the expression 
of ideas widely held at the time. See also Cic. De Orat., iii. 24 for 
the explanations given by Crassus with regard to the edict. 

t Cic, De Orat., ii. Ixvi., 265. 



lOO B.C. 


Marius* coali- 
tion witli tiie 

tion of the Conservative party. The intellectual and economic 
unification of Italy was gradually breaking dowrn all distinctions 
between Romans, Latins and allies, and the old political 
organisation of the separate districts had by now lost all reality 
and meaning. Middle class Italians, often heavily in debt 
and deprived of the patronage of the old local nobility, were 
now united in their demand for emancipation, and in their 
hostility to the clique that held the reins of power at Rome. 
The franchise seemed the remedy for all their grievances. 

This wild and disordered conflict of material interests could 
not fail to find reflection in the world of ideas. But here the 
confusion was intensified by the innumerable and contradictory 
doctrines of Greek philosophy. It was the fashion for men to 
consult the philosophers to find out their poHtical bearings ; 
and every educated man had his own particular standpoint 
from which he looked down upon the distress of the time. 
The theories thus evolved marked the final extinction of any 
ancient and definite doctrines which still survived into the new 
era. There were interminable discussions on the diseases 
from which Rome was suffering. No one tried the remedy 
of action. Men frittered away their energies in a morbid 
inertia, pouring vain encomiums upon a golden past, and 
childishly appealing for the intervention of some heaven-sent 
deliverer. Intellectuals singled out the unfortunate Caius 
Gracchus (it was characteristic that they should choose. just 
the greatest of their statesmen for their scapegoat) as the 
originator of all the various mischiefs of the time. It was 
Gracchus who by his corn laws had emptied the Treasury ; it 
was Gracchus who by his judicial arrangements had made the 
plutocracy all-powerful ; it was Gracchus who had let loose the 
demagogues, disorganised the army and abandoned the provinces 
to capitaHst rapacity.* All Italy cried aloud for a saviour. 

The hour had struck ; and Marius had no misgivings about 
the man. Intoxicated by his successes on the battlefield, 
he regarded them as preludes to new triumphs in the Forum. 
At the particular moment which we have reached, his efforts 
were centred upon the attainment of a sixth spell of consular 
office. But he would have to step down for once into the 
party arena. Hitherto the proud and masterful soldier had 
disdained to take sides with either party ; nor had it been neces- 
sary for him to do so. During the continuance of the Cimbric 
war he had accepted the suffrages of the Democrats without even 
* Diod. Sic, xxxiv., frag. 25. 


having to ask for their support.* But now that the invaders 100 b.c. 
were iinally repelled he had to face a very different situation. 
The spontaneous enthusiasm in his favour, generated by the 
Cimbri, had evaporated at their disappearance, and he could 
now only become Consul as the representative of one of the 
two parties in the State. The choice was not so difficult. The 
Conservatives could never forgive him for having been for four 
years the champion of the people. The moderate party, as 
usual in a crisis, was a whoUy negligible factor. There re- 
mained the Democrats. Marius entered into a compact with 
Saturninus and Glaucia, securing the Consulship for himself, 
the Tribuneship for Saturninus, and the Praetorship for 
Glaucia. Together they formed the Popular government of 
the year 100, a government in which the conqueror of the 
Cimbri practically became the instrument of the two dema- 
gogues. t His colleagues soon set to work. Saturninus pro- 
duced a Land BUI, which appears to have assigned the land 
devastated by the Cimbri in Transpadane Gaul to the Romans 
and the poor Italians, a Corn Bill reducing the price of the 
State-sold corn, and a Colonial Bill in which, reviving the 
idea of Caius Gracchus, he created settlements in Greece, 
Macedonia, Sicily and Africa for the veterans of Marius. J 

These schemes were all of them well enough in the abstract, Revolution 
but in the disturbed state of public opinion no serious discus- " 
sion of them was possible. In the excitement of controversy 
the two parties soon came to blows. The turbulent dema- 
gogues made the most of their chance ; they summoned bands 
of armed peasants to Rome, and by this means secured the 
passing of their proposals in the Comitia. Worse was to 
follow. At the Consular elections for 99, Saturninus gave 
the signal for open insurrection by putting to death Caius 
Memmius, one of the most capable and respected members 
of the opposite party. This was the turning point in the 
struggle. The rich capitalists, who had so far lent powerful 
support to the popular party, were frightened into the camp 
of law and order. The Senate decreed a state of siege, and all 
respectable citizens armed themselves in self-defence. It was 

* Niccolini, S. I. F. C, v. 461, has proved that Plutarch (Mar., 14), 
is mistaken in his statement about the enemies of Marius. 

t App„ B. C, J. 28-33 and Plut., Mar., 28-30, give very divergent 
accounts of the events of this year. See the acute analysis of Niccolini 
(S. I. F. C, V. 458) for the reasons for preferring the version of Appian, 

J Lange, R. A., iii. 77-79 ; Niccolini, S. I . F. C, v. 477 ff. ; Neumann, 
G. R. v., 420. 

of Saturninus. 


100 B.C. a difficult situation for Marius ; an old man's ambition and a 
soldier's instinct fought hard in him for supremacy. Disci- 
pline won in an end ; but it was a doubtful victory. He put 
himself at the head of the Senators and Knights to suppress 
the rising of his colleagues ; but his action displayed so much 
weakness and vacillation that the Conservatives believed him 
to be an accomplice of the rebels, while the advanced democrats 
of course regarded him as a traitor. Finally, however, he 
succeeded in quelling the revolt, and Saturninus and Glaucia 
were put to death by a band of incensed nobles and capitalists 
under his command.* 
Julius Caesar. It was in this troubled year of Marius's Consulship that his 
sister Aurelia bore her husband C. Julius Csesar a son, who 
was given his father's name.f 
The Aristo- The cry of revolution or spoliation never fails to bring Con- 

spirited foreign servatives to heel. The rich financiers had been scared out of 
poicy. their democratic allegiance, and the general public, disgusted 

at the turn matters had taken, veered round with equal rapidity. 
Marius soon felt his position undermined.! Suspected by aU 
parties wdthin a year of his triumph over the Cimbri, he 
discreetly set out on a long journey to the East. The Con- 
servatives thus returned both to office and to power. The 
more enlightened members of the party timidly urged the 
claims of social reform. But their feeble protests passed 
unheeded, and the government preferred to stake its credit upon 
a spirited foreign policy. It succeeded indeed in inducing 
Tripoli.] the Senate to refuse the legacy of the Cyrenaica, which had 

been left to the Roman people by Ptolemy Apion on his death 
in 96, being reluctant at a time of military and financial em- 
barrassment to assume fresh responsibilities in a disturbed 
and semi-barbarous country. But it was all the more anxious 
definitely to re-estabhsh Rome's waning prestige in the East. 
There was no lack of opportunity for interference. In 95 
Nicomedes of Bithynia was commanded to restore the territory 
he had taken, and given to understand that disobedience would 
be disastrous. Galatia was then given back to the Tetrarchs, 
Paphlagonia declared a free country, and Cappadocia put under 
the charge of a Parthian noble called Ariobarzanes, who was 

* Niccolini, S. I. F. C, v. 485. 

+ I adopt the traditional date, 100 B.C., for Caesar's birth. There 
are good reasons for placing it in 102, but a slight change of date 
is not important for the history either of the man or of his age. 

t Plut., Mar., 30, Cic, Pro Rab. perd., ixs, 27. 


given the title of King.* When two years later Mithridates 93 b.c. 
concluded an alliance with Tigranes, King of Armenia, invaded 
Cappadocia and drove out Ariobarzanes, the aristocratic 
party proved equal to the emergency, and the pro-Praetor 
Lucius Cornelius Sulla was at once despatched with a small 
army to re-establish Ariobarzanes on his throne.t 

But these foreign successes were wholly insufficient to ensure Return of 
peace in Italy. Distress was growing on every side. The *""'' 
Italians were haunted by their ambition for the franchise and 
a jealous hostiUty to the small oligarchy at Rome ; and the 
democrats were moving heaven and earth to recover their 
predominance. Marius had now returned from the East 
and could not resign himself in his own lifetime to the rfile 
of a mere historical personage. The financiers, driven tem- 
porarily by Saturninus into an unnatural allegiance, were 
re-kindling their old fires against their senatorial rivals. In 
93 a comparatively unimportant incident, the trial of PubUus 
Rutilius Rufus, provoked the long expected crisis. 

Rufus was a Conservative and an aristocrat, a man of un- The condem- 
blemished record and unquestioned courage, hostile both to Rntalus Rufus. 
the demagogues and the capitalists, and an outspoken admirer 
of the old regime. During his government of Asia as Legatus 
Pro pratore, he had had the misfortune to offend the capitalist 
interest by vigorous action against the rapacity of the Italian 
financiers. His enemies vowed vengeance. On his return to 
Rome they concocted against him a charge of extortion, and 
secured his condemnation by a tribunal of their friends. 
Rufus went off quietly into exile ; but his martyrdom was not 
suffered in vain. It awakened all that was best in the old aris- 
tocracy to what was going on aU round them, to the decay 
and disappearance of the old order and the ugly and un- 
scrupulous injustice of the new. They saw that it would soon 
be too late to resist, that they must fight, and fight at once ; 
and fortune provided them with a leader. 

Livius Drusus, an ambitious and passionate young aristocrat. Tribunate and 
was the man of their choice. Elected Tribune of the people Sf LfvYns*"'"' 
in 91, Drusus endeavoured to adopt against the financiers Drusus. 
the policy which Caius Gracchus had found so useful against 
the big landlords. His idea was to isolate the moneyed interest 
by means of an alliance between the aristocracy and the popular 
party. He brought forward a number of laws designed to 
secure him the favour of the democracy ; amongst them a 
* Reinach, M. E., loo, loi, t Reinach, 1. c. 


91 B.C. bill depriving the knights of their powers in the law-courts, 
and a measure making the tardy concession of citizen rights to 
the Italians. The idea of Italian emancipation had been 
slowly making way among the Roman electorate ; but it had 
stiU to encounter very obstinate resistance. Not a few of the 
aristocrats had been converted to its support, though they 
could not help being conscious of the danger it involved to 
their class and party.* But a great number were blinded by 
a prejudice so traditional as to be almost a second nature, 
and they confirmed it by the argument that any increase in 
the number of poor and ignorant electors would aggravate 
rather than allay the disorders in the capital.f The financiers 
and the rich Itahans were bitterly and outspokenly hostile. 
They were convinced that political reform would oijy be the 
prelude to a huge social upheaval, and that the Italians, most 
of whom were poor and indebted, would promptly make use 
of the franchise to introduce those bogies so familiar to students 
of ancient history, a revolutionary Land Law and the wholesale 
abolition of debt.J A terrible agitation now broke out, 
dividing the aristocracy into two angry camps, and stirring 
all the old embers of controversy into flame. One morning 
Livius was found assassinated in his house. Profiting by the 
disturbances which followed his disappearance, the knights 
hastily passed through a biU creating an extraordinary tribunal 
to try aU who were suspected of sympathy with the Italians, 
thus ridding themselves by prosecution and exile of all the chief 
of their opponents among the aristocracy and the democrats.§ 
The Social But this paltry retaliation was soon rudely interrupted. 

The death of Livius had sent an earthquake shock through the 
Peninsula, and Rome soon felt the ground trembling beneath 
her feet. The whole country south of the Liris, which had been 
the first to be civilised and the earliest to suffer from the 
disappearance of the smaller estates and the passing of the 
old economic order, had grown tired of waiting, and raised 
the standard of revolt. Men rushed to arms in the cause of 
a united Italy, against Rome, the allied cities, and the Latin 
colonies of the centre and north of the Peninsula, most of which 

* For instance, Sextus Pompeius, uncle of Cneius. Driimann, 
G. R., iv. 317. 

t Lange, R. A., iii. 88. 

X This is clear from App,, B. C, i. 37. 

§ Neumann, G. R. V., 450 ff. Historians differ in their verdict 
on Livius Drusus. Some consider him a man of merit, others a 
frivolous agitator. 



remained faithful to their allegiance.* Rome was taken utterly 91 b.c. 
by surprise. For once all party quarrels were hushed. The 
legions scattered broadcast throughout the Empire were hastily 
recalled to Italy ; naval contingents were brought up from 
Heraclea, Clazomenae and Miletus,t and arms distributed 
among all classes both free and slave. Even Marius, mindful 
of his reputation, begged for a command. Then ensued a 
war whose horrors can be but dimly descried behind the 
scanty records that have come down to us. Roman generals, 
trained in the traditions of colonial warfare, marched ruthlessly 
up and down Italy, burning farms, sacking towns, and carrying 
off men, women and children, to sell them in the open market, 
or work them in gangs on their own estates.! 

It was in these campaigns that a studious young man Cicero, 
named Marcus Tullius Cicero, born in the year 106, and 
belonging to a well-to-do family at Arpinum, first saw active 

Both sides were fighting not for victory but for extermina- First conces- 
tion, and perhaps it was the very barbarism of such a warfare ftSans*''* 
in the very heart of their own country which brought about its 
cessation. Romans were forced to realise that magnanimity 
was a safer policy than conquest, and the party among the 
nobles which was opposed to the financiers and sympathetic 
to the Italians came once more into power. In the year 90 
the Consul Lucius Julius Caesar was able to pass a law pro- 
viding that citizen rights should be extended to the States 
which had remained faithful to Rome. Not long afterwards, 
at the end of the same year or at the beginning of the 
next, two Tribunes proposed the lex Plautia Papiria, ac- 
cording to which any citizen of an allied town domiciled 
in Italy could acquire the rights of Roman citizenship on 
making a declaration within sixty days to the praetor at Rome. 
Other measures soon followed. In 89 a lex Plautia took away 
the law-courts from the knights, and enacted that, judges 
should be chosen by the tribes from among every class in the 
State.|| It was perhaps in the same year that the Consul 
Cneius Pompeius Strabo proposed to extend the rights of 
the Latin colonies to the towns of Cisalpine Gaul, in order to 
relieve them from the obligation of military service and as a 

* App., B. C, i. 39 ; Cantainpi, M. S., 4 ff. 
t Memnon, 29; C. I. L., i. 203. 

J See Cic, Pro Cluent., vii. 21, and the case of Ventidius Bassus, 
Aul., Gell., XV. 4. 

§ Cic, Phil., xii., II, 27. Lange, R. A., iii. 113. 

I F 


89 B.C. compensation for the losses they had suffered by serving in 
the Allies' Revolt.* These concessions were far more effectii^ 
than mihtary operations in bringing the war to a close, and it 
was not long before only the Samnites and Lucanians remained 
in the field. 
Reaction of Italy had hardly begun to recover from the horrors of civil 

pofiCT^pon"'*'" war when she was darkened by the shadow of a far worse 
the Greeks. calamity in the East. Mithridates had been surprised by the 
Social War just at the moment when he was preparing to 
embark on a great campaign to drive Rome out of Asia. It 
was a large and daring policy ; but the moment seemed auspi- 
cious. The reputation which Rome had enjoyed in the Greek 
world, during the fifty years which followed the Battle of 
Zama, as the champion of Freedom, had been gradually 
waning since the destruction of Carthage and Corinth.t Greek 
observers watched her as she cynically abandoned her old 
policy of liberation for an ambitious and detestable system of 
aggrandisement. . They saw Asia exhausted by the exploitation 
of Roman capitalists, and by the raids of the corsairs to supply 
Italy with slaves. Rome herself presented every symptom 
of decadence. Very different seemed the prospects and the 
power of Mithridates. He could raise enormous armies in 
his own country and from the Barbarians : he was building 
a large fleet in the Black Sea harbours ; and he possessed in 
the Crimea a granary sufficient to keep huge forces in the field 
without any drain on the supplies of his own country. 
Mithridates At the moment of the outbreak of the Allies' Revolt his 

and Bithynia. pj-eparations were not yet concluded. In the meanwhile 
he had assisted a younger brother of Nicomedes of Bithynia 
to seize that kingdom, and had joined hands with Tigranes, 
regardless of possible Roman intervention, in re-conquering 
Cappadocia and putting his son on the throne. This was a 
direct challenge to the Romans, and it had been unexpectedly 
taken up. The aristocratic party, eager to win its spurs in 
foreign policy, sent out Manius Aquilius in the year 90 with 
a special mission to re-establish the two kings in their States, 
with the help of the small force of the pro-Consul Lucius 
Cassius. Aquilius and Cassius had no difficulty in accomplish- 
ing their mission.! But Aquilius, whose stupidity matched 

* Asconius.inPis., p. 3 (Or.). Cantalupi, M. S., 40, assigns this law 
to 87, but I think it belongs more properly to the year of Strabo's 
Consulship. , •]• Polyb., xxxvii. i. 

J App., Mithr. 11, Liv., p. 74. 


^his courage, had not come to the East to be bought oil by the 89 b.c. 
promises of Nicomedes. Thirsting for operations on a large 
scale against Mithridates, he tried to induce Nicomedes and 
Ariobarzanes to make fiUbustering expeditions over the frontier 
of Pontus. The unfortunate King showed a very reasonable 
hesitation. But Nicomedes was in the debt of the Roman 
bankers at Ephesus for large sums of money borrowed at Rome 
and in Asia during his exile to facilitate his restoration. Aquilius 
demanded payment. Nicomedes had no alternative but to 
raise the money out of the spoils of a raid into Pontus.* Mith- 
ridates was not yet to be drawn. Anxious to gain time and 
anxious also to put his adversary in the wrong, he sent in to 
Aquilius a modest and reasonable claim for damages, which was 
of course refused. At the end of the year 89 his preparations 
were complete. Sending his son to invade Cappadocia, he 
continued to bombard Aquilius with vigorous requests for 
reparation. Aquilius replied by a demand for unconditional 
submission. The result was a declaration of war. t 

When operations commenced in the spring of 88, Mithridates First cam- 
had at his command a fleet of four hundred ships, and one of SiiuS-iStesf 
those enormous armies, comparable to the conscript levies 
of modern Europe, which Oriental strategy, reckoning solely 
by quantity, has always insisted on regarding as formidable. 
It is said that he had a horde of 300,000 men, composed of 
Greek mercenaries, Armenian cavalry, and an infantry force 
of Cappadocians, Paphlagonians, Galatians, Scythians, Sarma- 
tians, Thracians, Bastarni and Celts.! Aquilius on the other 
hand had only been able during the winter to collect a small 
fleet from Bithynia and Asia, and an army of scarcely 200,000 
men, including the raw Asiatic recruits of the King of Bithynia, 
which had been incorporated among the scanty Roman con- 
tingents. The result was as might have been foreseen. The 
four corps into which the Roman army was divided were 
defeated or dispersed within a few weeks ; the Roman fleet 
surrendered to the superior force of the enemy ; the King of 
Bithynia fled into Italy ; the Roman generals were taken 
prisoners, and Mithridates proceeded at leisure to the invasion 
of Asia.§ 

Great was the consternation when this news reached Italy. 
The Allies' Revolt had already been sufficiently disastrous. 

* Appiau, Mithr., ii. -f Reinach, M. E., 119. 

X Id. 122, n.i. The numbers given by the ancient authorities are 
certainly exaggerated. § Id., 123-128. 



crisis in Italy. 

The great 
pog:rom in 
Asia Minor. 

It had ruined many of the small and moderate proprietors 
by the destruction of their farms and cattle, and had inter- 
fered with the rents drawn by many of the rich aristocrats 
from their South Italian estates. The invasion of Asia now 
snatched away at one blow all profits on the vast capital ex- 
pended by Roman financiers throughout the province. A 
serious financial crisis ensued. The tax-farmers refused pay- 
ment, while owing to the prevailing conditions of trade the 
other imposts brought in but little. The Treasury was empty. 
CapitaUsts were too frightened to invest, and made strenuous 
efforts to recover all outstanding liabilities. There was a 
general scarcity of money, and much of what was in circulation 
was counterfeit. A Prsetor who set his face against the brutahty 
of creditors was assassinated one morning at sacrifice by a band 
of financiers. Rome was filled vnth riot, assassination and 
robbery. The old and the new citizens seized the occasion 
to vent their grievances in street-fighting. The Italians 
complained that the Senate had refused to inscribe them within 
the thirty-five tribes, and was trying to gain time by proposing 
all manner of schemes to nullify their new rights ; one pro- 
posal, for instance, was to inscribe them in ten new tribes ; 
another to include them in only eight of the old thirty-five.* 
But worse news from the seat of war in the East broke into 
these petty bickerings. 

What faced Rome in Asia was not, as she had first thought, 
a mere struggle between an Eastern and a Western Power, 
but an organised and widespread revolution against capitalist 
domination. Mithridates was posing, not simply as the hero 
of Hellenism, but as the scourge of the cosmopohtan plutocracy 
under the patronage of Rome, the avenger of the artisans and 
the peasants, the middle-class traders and landlords of Asia, 
who were suffering under the extortions of Roman bankers 
and of Levantine, Jewish and Egyptian usurers. He had sent 
orders to the governors of aU the conquered provinces warning 
them to prepare for a general massacre of the Italians on the 
30th day after the date of his letter, and had skilfully inflamed 
the passions of the common people, already hotly excited by 
the condemnation of their protector, Rutilius Rufus. He 
promised 'liberty to all slaves, and a 50 per cent, remission to 
all debtors who killed their creditors. On the day fixed, 

* This is the ingenious conjecture of Cantalupi, M. S., 5, to explain 
the inconsistency between App,, B. C, i. 49, and Velleius, ii. 20. See 
for this economic and political crisis, Neumann, G. R. V.,' 504 fi.' 


100,000 Italians, men, women and children, were attacked 88 b.c. 
and cut down in the streets, or drowned, or burnt alive, by 
the furious populace in all the greater and smaller towns of 
Asia. Their slaves were set free, and their goods divided 
between the towns and the Royal Treasury. The same treat- 
ment was accorded to the possessions of non-Italian capitalists 
such as the Jewish bankers of the Island of Cos.* The spirit 
of rebellion soon spread to Greece. At Athens the people 
rose in insurrection, philosophers and University professors 
helping to fan the flame. Mithridates, having laid the train, 
was well prepared for the explosion. His general, Archelaus, 
was immediately despatched vnth a fleet and an army to 
reduce the towns which had not yet revolted against the Romans 
and to conquer and devastate the rich trading centre of Delos.t 
It was a great and far-reaching struggle for mastery in the 
Greek world. On the one side was an Asiatic monarchy 
reinforced by a revolutionary proletariat, on the other the 
Italian plutocracy reinforced by a decadent aristocracy and 
a democracy still unconscious of its strength. The intellectual 
classes, the men of letters and philosophers so numerous in the 
East, were ranged, as in all great social conflicts, some on one 
side and some on the other, according to individual sympathies, 
interests and attachments. 

The Senate rose at once to the emergency. It entrusted Suiia put in 
SuUa, who was Consul in 88, with the direction of the war, revoki\?onof 
and, finding the Treasury empty, it took the decisive step of Suipicias. 
selling all the goods which were under mortmain, including 
the whole of the treasures in the temples at Rome.J Yet 
there was treachery almost in their own camp. Nothing is 
more significant of the bitterness which possessed all parties 
in Italy at this time than that they should have seized this 
moment of national danger to pursue their internecine con- 
flicts. The Samnites and Lucanians, who were still under 
arms, sent ambassadors to Mithridates with proposals for 
an alliance. A large number of ruined Italians incited by 
hatred of the Conservatives, who were trying to evade their 
concession of citizen rights, and by the necessity of somehow 
making a livehhood, fled to Asia and joined the army of Mithri- 
dates. § At Rome a party among the knights, who resented 
the loss of their judicial power, were preparing to recover it 

* App,, Mithr. 22, 23 ; Plut., SuUa, 24 ; Memnon, 31 ; Josephus, 
A. J., xiv., 7, 2 ; Val., Max., ix., 2, 3. t Reinach, M. E., 133-4. 

J App., Mithr. 22 ; Oros., v. 18, 27. § Front., Strat., i. 3, 17. 


B.C. by revolutionary means, with the sinister assistance of Marius- 
The old veteran, who had long been fuming at the loss of his 
old popularity, and had addled his brains by taking to drink, 
was now indulging in wild and fantastic dreams of glory ; to 
deprive Sulla of his command against Mithridates, win the 
fabled treasures of Pontus, and live over again before his death 
the great days of his Cimbric triumphs.* The coalition found 
a ready instrument in Publius Sulpicius Rufus, an aristocrat 
who had been driven by his debts and also, it appears, by personal 
animosities to become an ardent member of the democratic 
party. Rufus was at this time tribune of the people. On 
the pretext of giving a tardy satisfaction to the new citizens, 
he proposed a law according to which the Italians should be 
partitioned out among the thirty-five tribes, and had it passed 
by hiring bands of cut-throats to terrify the electors and do 
violence to the Consuls. Both Consuls were forced to leave 
Rome. Sulla went off to join the army which was being 
assembled at Nola. Thereupon Marius, vvho was now in com- 
pany with Rufus supreme master of Rome, had a law passed 
conferring the Eastern command upon himself, and sent 
orders to Sulla to give up his troops. 

* Plut., SuUa, 8. 


Sulla and his "character — He marches with his army on 
Rome — Flight of Marius and restoration of the aristocratic 
government — Sulla's departure for Greece — Siege of Athens — - 
His energy and resolution — ^Violence of the new democratic 
government and death of Marius — FaU of Athens and battle 
of Chaeronea — ^The Consul Valerius — Flaccus proposes the 
reduction of debts, and sets out for Greece against Sulla — 
Battle of Orchomenos — SuUa makes his peace with Mith- 
ridates to combat the revolution in Italy — Valerius Flaccus 
kiUed by Fimbria — ^War between Sulla and Fimbria — SuUa 
master of Asia — ^Taxes, contributions, penalties — Negotiations 
between SuUa and the democratic chiefs — Sulla's return to 
Italy and the civil war — Victory of SuUa ; his miUtary 
dictatorship ; Conservative reaction ; confiscations, persecu- 
tions, proscriptions — Sulla's reforms — ^The Conservative clique 
established by him in power — ^The work of Marius and Sulla. 

If the wealthy classes so often come ofi second best in a struggle Character and 
with the democracy, the cause is generally to be found in their luul.*^*"" "' 
disinchnation to submit to leadership. It has always been a 
faihng of rich and educated men to have too high an opinion 
of their own abilities. The prospect which faced the Roman 
Conservatives at this moment, when the Revolution, in the 
person of Marius, had made itself complete master of the State, 
was indeed dark enough to close up the party ranks. Yet it 
was only by accident that they discovered in Sulla a fit champion 
for their cause. SuUa had up to this time been one of those 
superior but sohtary figures who are sometimes to be found 
in an aristocracy when its old governing regime is on the eve 
of dissolution. Too intelligent and cultured to cherish the 
old prejudices of his class or to ignore the symptoms of its 
inevitable decadence ; too conscious and contemptuous of 
the true value of success to court power by flie meannesses 
on which fame in a democracy nearly always depends ; energetic, 
fond of money, and impatient of inaction, yet with a marked 
inclination to scepticism and self-indulgence, he seemed to 
most of his contemporaries so indifferent to all distinctions 




88 B.C. 

Sulla seizes 



between right and wrong, and so desirous for mere sensual 
and intellectual enjoyment, as never to be willing to sacrifice 
his own interest or pleasure to any ideal cause of principle. 
Hitherto his career had been rather military than political. 
He had preferred campaigning against Cimbri and revolted 
Italians to joining hands with one or other of the two parties 
at Rome. Although his origin and connections attached him 
rather to the Conservative than to the popular party, he had 
taken as small a share in party struggles as was compatible 
with the attainment of poUtical and military promotion. 
His advance had thus been very slow, and he was over fifty 
when, in this year, he finally reached the Consulship. It is 
likely enough that, in his impartial contempt for both parties, 
he would have allowed Conservatives and Democrats to go 
on massacring one another indefinitely, if the revolutionaries 
had not suddenly marked him out for attack by attempting 
to deprive him of his Eastern command. He was not particu- 
larly concerned for the interests of the Conservative party, 
but he had no intention of surrendering the conduct of a war 
which he hoped would bring him both money and renown. 

His reply to the summons of Marius was the first revelation 
of his characteristic daring and rapidity of decision. Having 
first made sure of the fidelity of his troops, he marched straight 
up from Nola upon Rome and occupied the city. Marius, 
utterly dumbfounded by the suddenness of the attack, had no 
alternative but flight ;* and SuUa thus became at one blow 
sole master of the situation. But since his object had merely 
been to preserve his command and not to make a counter 
revolution in the Conservative interest, he used his victory with 
moderation. He prosecuted only twelve of the insurrectionary 
leaders, annulled the unconstitutional laws of Sulpicius, and 
allowed the elections for the following year to take place un- 
disturbed. A Conservative, Cneius Octavius, was elected 
to the Consulship, with Lucius Cornelius Cinna, a man who 
passed for a Democrat, as his colleague. Sulla did no more 
than make them take an oath to respect the laws.t 

At the end of the year he left for Brindisi, where he em- 
barked for Greece. He had with him five legions, a few in- 
complete cohorts, and a small force of cavalry, in all about 
30,000 men.t Never perhaps did so small an army set forth 

* App„ B. C, i. 57-58 ; Plut., SuUa, 9 ; Liv., p. 77 ; Oros, v. 
9, 4. t Cantalupi, M. S., 26 S. 

i App., Mithr., 30; B. C. i,, 79; Reinach; M. E., 152, n. 4, as 
against Cantalupi, M. S., 72 fi. 


to accomplish so huge a task. Mithridates was preparing to 87 b.c. 
defend his conquests with his wonted vigour, and to make full 
use of his great numerical superiority. Archelaus and Aristion, 
who were already in Greece at the head of considerable armies, 
were to withdraw their troops to Athens and the Piraeus, and 
allow themselves to be besieged, while a new army was to be 
assembled in Asia, and to be sent to Greece in due course when 
the Romans had become exhausted by the siege of Athens. As 
a plan of campaign, this left nothing to be desired. It com- 
pelled SuUa, as soon as he had disembarked in Epirus, to march 
South with his 30,000 men on the heels of the retreating enemy, 
and eventually to tire out his totally inadequate forces in a 
long and difficult siege. Meanwhile the Pontic fleet en- 
deavoured to intercept communications wdth Italy, and to 
hamper the provision of Sulla's supplies. 

Sulla's situation was thus already sufficiently precarious. New revolution 
But it became ten times more so when the Democrats re- 
captured the reins of government in Italy. No sooner had 
Sulla departed than the Consul Cinna again raised the question 
of the new citizens and their enrolment in the thirty-five 
tribes. His colleagues of course opposed the project. Both sides 
proceeded to arm their respective partisans and a pitched battle 
was fought in the streets of Rome. Ultimately Cinna was 
deposed and proscribed. He immediately retired to raise 
the standard of revolt in the country, collecting troops and 
money through the whole of Italy, and encouraging the 
Samnites, who were still under arms, to prolong their resistance. 
In the midst of this confusion Marius reappeared upon the 
scene from Africa, where he had been in hiding, accompanied 
by a small troop of Numidians, and began to enhst an army 
of freedmen and slaves in Etruria. The Senate attempted 
to prevent the outbreak of a second Social War by granting 
citizen rights to all the Italians who had not benefited by 
the lex Julia and the lex Plautia Pafiria ; only the Samnites 
and the Lucanians, as being still in revolt, were to be excepted.* 
Unfortunately there was no second Sulla in their hour of 
need,t and Marius had no difficulty in seizing Rome. The 
embittered old soldier wreaked a cruel vengeance on the proud 
nobles who had always refused him their admiration. A large 
number of aristocrats were executed, and their heads carried 
to the house of Marius, or fixed as an adornment to the Rostra. 

* Liv., p. 80, Cantalupi, M. S., 40. 
t Cantalupi, M. S., 30 fi. 



87 B.C. Sulla was declared the enemy of his country and deposed from 
his command ; his house at Rome was razed to the ground, 
his villas pillaged, and his goods confiscated. 
Sulla before Meanwhile the little army before Athens which was to re- 
conquer the East was being abandoned by the home govern- 
ment just at the moment when the hardships of a long siege 
were beginning to tell upon its strength. Disease and skirmish- 
ing were daily thinning its ranks, and the stock of suppUes 
was running dangerously low. If the relieving army from Asia 
arrived in time to avert capitulation, the besiegers would be 
cut off without hope of retreat.* In this supreme crisis of 
his career, Sulla showed the stuff of which he was made. The 
contemptuous sceptic, the degenerate Sybarite, who had made 
his debut in hfe by repairing his fortunes with the heritage of 
a Greek courtesan, the man who seemed to have taken part 
in all the fighting of his age simply to secure for himself the 
riches indispensable for self-indulgence, stands forth at last 
in his true character, strong-willed, merciless, and absolutely 
self-centred. Sulla is one of those supreme egoists who are 
fortunately rare in the pages of history, one of those characters 
who appear in times of social dissolution and decay, when every 
moral tie between man and man is relaxed, and aU who do not 
wish to go under must make their own personal safety the 
supreme law of their life. Entrenched before Athens, he was 
like a Titan at bay. To save himself and his army he swept 
off every obstacle from his path. He cut down the thickets of 
the Lyceum and the plane trees of Plato's Academy to accom- 
modate his siege works ; he established a mint in the Pelo- 
ponnese, to provide sufficient pay for his troops ; he made 
ruthless requisitions throughout Greece, pillaging temples, 
regardless of the sacrilege, converting tripods, and vases, and 
jewels, all the artistic treasures dedicated by countless genera- 
tions of worshippers, into silver and gold to meet his needs. 
He sent one of his younger officers, Lucius LucuUus, with six 
ships to break through the cordon of the Pontic fleet and 
bring up vessels from all parts of the Mediterranean, and to 
restore the Roman sea-power in the iEgean. He did all that 
was possible, and far more than was conventional, to encourage 
his men ; he shared every hardship and joined in every 
skirmish, appearing in person to lead them to the attack, and 
distributing prize-money among all ranks. Marius had been 
the first to see that under the changed conditions of the age 
* See, on the siege, Reinach, M. E., 154 fi. 


Rome must be content to recruit her legions from amongst 87 b.c. 
the lowest stratum of the ItaUan populace ; that the conquests 
on which she had entered with a national miUtia of yeomen 
could only be continued by a standing army of paid soldiers. 
But it was Sulla who first realised that this new breed of soldiers 
could be treated in all ways Uke regular mercenary levies and 
submitted to every severity of discipline, hardship, and danger, 
provided only that they were skilfully commanded and gener- 
ously paid. 

During the whole of 87 Athens continued to offer a desperate Delay of the 
resistance against all assaults. Archelaus was an excellent SfJreements. 
general, and if the fortunes of the war had depended entirely 
upon him, SuUa would perhaps have succumbed. But the 
reinforcing army, which was due to arrive from Asia in the 
autumn of 87, did not make its appearance. Hampered by 
its own unwieldy size, and delayed by a disorganised com- 
missariat and indifferent leadership, its advance was slow and 
fitful. The governor of Macedonia, Caius Sentius Saturninus, 
set himself across its path with the few troops at his disposal, 
and succeeded in intercepting it in Macedonia at a difficult 
season of the year.* It was obHged to go into winter quarters 
in that not very hospitable country, and SuUa was thus set 
free to make the most of his time till the spring. 

But hardly was this danger removed when another storm- The Demo- 
cloud beat up from the west. At the beginning of 86 death pouly.'"*'*™ 
put an end to the troubled career of Marius. But his disap- 
pearance did nothing to settle the dangerous dispute over the 
Eastern command, a dispute which had already lasted two 
years, and had almost added the horrors of a second Civil War 
to the vexations of a party conflict at Rome. There were 
many reasons why the Democrats could not leave the command 
in the hands of a man like Sulla, who, though by no means a 
whole hearted Conservative, was yet thoroughly out of sym- 
pathy vnth the popular party. The most pressing were no 
doubt provided by the numerous aspirants in its own ranks, 
who were ambitious of high military command. But private 
interest could be speciously reinforced by the fancied neces- 
sities of pohcy. The party which inherited the traditions of 
the Gracchi and Marius needed to restore its prestige by some 
striking mihtary success. By the repulse of the Cimbri and 
Teutones it had saved Italy ; by the discomfiture of Mithri- 
dates it would re-conquer Asia. Nor did it shrink from 
* Reinach, M. E., i6o. 



86 B.C. 

Capture of 
Athens and 
batUe of 

heads the 
social revolu- 

accepting the legacy of personal bitterness bequeathed by its 
dead leader, and from treating Sulla frankly as an implacable 
enemy. Lucius Valerius Flaccus, the Consul who was elected 
in the place of Marius, was ordered to go to Greece with an 
army of 12,000 men to reUeve SuUa of his command.* The 
new Consul was an ardent democrat who had just passed a law 
releasing all debtors from 75 per cent, of their debts ; if he 
arrived before Athens capitulated, Sulla would be caught [in 
a vice between the legions from Rome and the armies of 

But Flaccus' preparations took time. He was stiU in Italy 
when on March i, 86, Sulla succeeded, after a desperate assault, 
in capturing both Athens and the Piraeus. These successes 
infused new Hfe into his soldiers ; but they were not decisive 
for the issue of the campaign. Without the command of the 
sea SuUa was not yet in a position to inflict a crushing blow 
upon the enemy. Archelaus retired into the peninsula of 
Munychia, where he embarked his whole force in good order, 
and sailed to Thermopylae to join the invading army. Thus 
after the capture of Athens, Sulla had still, as before, three 
armies to face, the united forces of Archelaus and his Asiatic 
reinforcements, and the legions of Flaccus, who had by now 
disembarked in Epirus. SuUa realised that he must rout the 
Pontic armies before the arrival of the new Consul. Although 
the enemy were in considerable numerical superiority, he 
marched vsdth all his forces to meet Archelaus, and defeated 
him in the great battle of Chaeronea, in Boeotia.t 

This victory, the first won by Roman troops over Mithri- 
dates, produced an immense sensation all through the Empire. 
Its consequences were far more momentous than those of the 
capture of Athens, and it led to a situation which was favourable 
both to Sulla and to Roman interests in general. For some 
months past the respectable classes in Asia, aghast at the massa- 
cres of 88 and at the revolutionary methods of Mithridates, 
had begun to intrigue vnth Rome against the Pontic domination. 
They found it easy to make use of the discontent of the common 
people at the continual levies of the new government. J Already 
by the end of 87 Ephesus had revolted in favour of Rome.§ 
The battle of Chaeronea, following close upon this revolt, 

* Reinach, M. E., 186 n. 3. f Id., 162-176. 

X Id.. 179- 

§ Waddington-le-Bas, R, I. A. M. n. 136 a. ; App. Mithr., 48 ; 
Oros, vi. 2, 8. For the date see Reinach, M. E., 183 n. i. 


encouraged the Roman party throughout Asia, broke down 86 b.c. 
the wavering fidelity of the towns, and forced Mithridates to 
new shifts to recover his prestige. He now adopted the most 
interesting, and the most ominous, of the Protean diguises of 
his career, proclaiming himself throughout Asia as the cham- 
pion of the Social Revolution, abolishing aU debts and promising 
liberty to aU States which remained faithful to his cause.* 
He then prepared to send a new army, under the orders of 
Dorilas, for the invasion of Boeotia and the re-conquest of 

But the most important consequence of the victory of Co-operation 
Chaeronea was to facilitate what had hitherto seemed as fu^^.*'"' 
unlikely as it was indispensable — ^peace between Sulla and the 
Democratic party. Flaccus, who seems to have been less un- 
reasonable than his kind, had no sooner landed in Epirus than 
he reahsed the full nature of his mission : that he was expected 
to re-open the Civil War at the very moment when the common 
enemy was about to throw new forces into the province he 
had conquered. He saw that to dispute the honour of holding 
the chief command against Mithridates, when the united forces 
of the two rival generals were hardly in a position to defeat 
him, would be criminal folly. Sulla, for his part, was not the 
man to be blinded either by success in battle or by the bitter- 
ness of party ; he was fully ahve to the dangers of a simultaneous 
campaign against the King of Pontus and the forces of the 
Democrats. Unfortunately, Flaccus was prevented by Sulla's 
proscription from throwing the two armies into one, and 
Sulla had to be content with a secret arrangement, according 
to which the two forces were to act in agreement without their 
co-operation being generally known. Flaccus was to use his 
authority as Consul to induce the people of Byzantium to fit 
out a fleet, thus carrying the war into Asia. SuUa was to remain 
in Greece to await Dorilas, who was now advancing, after 
taking on board off Euboea Archelaus and 10,000 survivors 
of the battle of Chaeronea. This sensible arrangement 
produced excellent effects. By the close of 86 both armies 
had won considerable successes. SuUa attacked and annihilated 
the army of Dorilas at Orchomenos, sent him flying into 
Euboea, where he was unable to foUow him, and then retired 
into Thessaly for winter quarters.! Flaccus invaded Macedonia, 
drove the last remnants of the Pontic army before him into 
Asia, and crossed the Bosphorus with the help of the 
* Reinach, M. E., 184. f W., 187-9. 


86-85 B.C. Byzantine fleet. Thus all Mithridates' schemes had been 
checkmated. When the year ended, so far from having re- 
covered the ground lost at Chasronea, he had definitively- 
lost all his European conquests. 
The parly The armies of the proscribed Pro-Consul and the legitimate 

Ijjjssiein Consul had co-operated in this happy result, though Sulla's 
achievements outweighed those of Flaccus. If the Italian 
Democrats had been inclined to follow the wise example of 
Flaccus, if they had revoked Sulla's proscription, and accepted 
his services on reasonable conditions, the crisis which had almost 
entailed the loss of the Empire would have been over within 
a few more months. But the course of poUtics in Italy rendered 
this easy solution impossible. The Conservative party had 
been almost entirely exterminated by the revolution. A 
large number of the aristocracy and the wealthier citizens 
had been killed, others had escaped to Sulla or into distant 
provinces, those who remained in Rome were paralysed with 
fear. The equestrian order had fared Httle better. The 
financiers and merchants who composed it felt themselves 
threatened on both sides. They hardly knew which to shun 
as the greater evil : a Conservative reaction that would take 
away aU their privileges, or a social revolution that would 
follow the precedent of the reduction of debts which had 
86 B.C. just been decreed. The democratic party, strong in the sup- 
port of the middle class, felt too sure of its own power to 
make any agreement with SuUa. They distrusted his origin, 
his connections, his past, and most of all perhaps the friendly 
reception he had given to so many of the more eminent of 
the proscribed Conservatives. 
Fimbria super- Flaccus' conduct found SO little favour with the Democrats 
sedes Flaccus. ^jj^^ during the winter of 86-85 Fimbria, one of his Heutenants 
and a member of the popular party, suspecting the secret agree- 
ment between Flaccus and SuUa, succeeded in rousing the 
soldiers to mutiny ; Flaccus was put to death by his troops, 
and Fimbria proclaimed Commander-in-Chief. This petty 
military revolution made all hopes of conciliation futile. Sulla 
now found himself once more in a very critical situation. He 
could not afford to let Fimbria conclude the conquest of 
Asia ; for the Democrats, already sufficiently his enemy, would 
only use their success to turn their arms against himself and 
his army. On the other hand, it was very dangerous for him 
to attack Fimbria, for Mithridates, in spite of his loss of prestige 
since the defeats at Chaeronea and Orchomenos, would be 


certain, on the outbreak of Civil War, to recover everything 85 b.c. 
that he had lost. 

Such was the situation which forced SuUa, acting purely Suiia makes 
in self-defence, to take a step which was destined to be MlthSdltel. 
decisive for his whole future career, and to exercise a baneful 
influence upon Rome for the next twenty years of her history. 
Unable to fight a double war against Fimbria and Mithridates, 
and equally unable to come to terms with Fimbria, he decided 
to negotiate with Mithridates for the conclusion of peace upon 
reasonable terms. The moment seemed auspicious. The 
length of the operations and the defeats of the last year had 
exhausted the military and financial resources of the King of 
Pontus. Greece was entirely lost, and almost the whole of 
Asia in revolt. By the offer of land and money and other 
tempting promises, Sulla gained the ear of Archelaus, persuaded 
him to surrender his fleet, and to approach his master with 
definite proposals.* The status quo of 88 was to be restored ; 
Mithridates was to keep the whole of his old kingdom of Pontus, 
to receive the title of friend and ally of the Roman people, 
and to pay over to Sulla 2000 talents and a fixed number of 
warships. SuUa even promised to facihtate his retreat and to 
draw a veil over his failure by granting an amnesty to the rebel 
States of Asia. 

Regarded from the standpoint of the military and political ^'"5 p*"''' 
traditions of Rome such a treaty was almost an act of high gamus. 
treason. The King who had massacred 100,000 Italians 
and devastated the fairest provinces of the Empire was to keep 
his kingdom, to receive the title of friend and ally, and to pay 
a comparatively trifling indemnity. But the condition of 
Italy after half a century of political and social conflict was 
so disastrous, that SuUa was practically forced into buying 
safety for himself and his soldiers by a formal alliance vsrith the 
butcher of the Italians. Yielding to the soH citations of SuUa, 
Archelaus visited Mithridates, and used aU his influence to 
persuade him. The wily Oriental, who weU understood why 
SuUa's terms were so favourable, at first attempted to improve 
them by the threat of an alliance vnth Fimbria. But Fimbria 
did not give him the chance. Burning to achieve something 
that would justify his anomalous position, he took the field 
in the spring of 85, marched into Asia and won several signal 
successes over the armies of Mithridates, culminating in the 

* For all this see Plut. SuUa, 22 ; Memnon, 35 ; App., Mithr., 
54-55, with the remarks of Reinach, M. E., 194. 


85-84 B.C. capture of Pergamus.* Meanwhile Lucullus, who had at 
length succeeded in collecting a fleet, appeared on the Asiatic 
coast to incite the cities to revolt. Mithridates, seeing his 
army disorganised and his power in Asia slipping from his grasp, 
was finally persuaded that it would be simpler to make an 
agreement with Sulla than with Fimbria. He sought an inter- 
view with the pro-Consul at Dardanus, accepted his terms, 
and embarked the survivors of his army for Pontus.f 
D^athofFim- Thus rid of Mithridates, Sulla advanced to meet Fimbria 
''"*• in Lydia. The murderer of Flaccus had proved himself a 

violent and exacting commander, and had quickly forfeited 
the sympathies of his army. At Sulla's approach his men 
broke up to join forces with the victor of Chaeronea and Orcho- 
menos, and Fimbria himself found refuge in suicide. J SuUa 
thus remained sole master of Asia at the head of a large fleet 
and a considerable army, together with the resources secured 
by the indemnity from Mithridates. 
SnUa and the This success was indeed no more than his due. It was SuUa 
government. ^^° ^^^ really destroyed the power of Mithridates, and restored 
to the Empire the provinces he had over-run. Had it not been 
for Chseronea and Orchomenos, Fimbria could never have 
entered Asia, still less have captured Pergamus. Yet there was 
one grave blot on his record. The Treaty of Dardanus had 
granted what was virtually a free pardon to the man who had 
aspired to be the Hannibal of the East. This was a concession 
in which neither party, however greatly it desired peace, would 
have dared to acquiesce, unless Sulla had been absolute master 
of the situation. Sulla, of course, was very well aware of this, 
and did his best to meet the difficulty. During the years 85 
and 84 he worked hard, not only to strengthen his personal 
position with the legions, but to make his peace with the 
Democrats at home. He was anxious to conclude some satis- 
factory arrangement which would allow him to return quietly 
to Italy for the enjoyment of the immense wealth which he 
had amassed during the war. If his opponents had only 
guaranteed to maintain his Eastern settlement, and engaged 
not to go back upon the Treaty of Dardanus, he would have 
been quite ready to abandon the Roman Conservatives, who 
had not raised a finger to help him in his moment of danger. 
But the spirit of universal distrust which is so deep-rooted 
at all times of revolution, and so complicates the conflicts of 

* Reinach, M. E., 199 ff, | Id., 202 ft. 

t Id., 207 ff. 


political parties, made any such agreement impossible. A 84 b.c. 
good many nobles had taken refuge in the camp of Sulla, and 
were continually urging him to overthrow the Democratic 
government. All over the Empire the survivors of the Con- 
servative party had been persuaded by the news of Sulla's 
victories into the belief that they had at last lighted upon 
a true champion who would be prepared to repeat against the 
existing regmi? his bold stroke against the revolution of Sulpicius 
in 88. Intrigues and conspiracies were already in the air, and 
an active agitation now broke out amongst the youth of the 
wealthier classes. Sulla was far too clever a man to become the 
blind instrument of a party which was itself to blame for its 
disasters ; yet the turn which events were taking could not help 
proving injurious to his attempts at conciliation. The Demo- 
cratic government, always suspicious of his past, scented treason 
at once. The middle dass were afraid that he would attempt 
to deprive the Italians of their citizen rights. The popular 
party was of course, burning to have its revenge on the Con- 
servatives. The disavowal of the Treaty of Dardanus, which 
would deprive their opponents of all credit for the conquest 
of Asia, was a tempting battle-cry for party warfare. They 
would refuse to recognise a treaty containing provisions so 
humiliating to the Republic : the so-called victory of a Con- 
servative general over Mithridates were better named a national 

If the moral and political situation of Italy made an Sniia and the 
agreement unlikely between Sulla and the democrats, the *"'"*■ 
conflict of economic interests soon rendered it impossible. 
The knights, many of whom had invested money in the province 
of Asia, had now become as powerful with the Democratic 
government as they had been under every preceding regime ; 
for the wave of feeling which had stirred the whole State and 
throvim together men of all parties against the exactions of 
the financiers had passed away as suddenly as it had come. 
It was inevitable that the plutocrats in the equestrian order 
should take sides against SuUa. It was true that he had re- 
conquered Asia ; but events had forced him to injure many of 
their interests in the process. The invasion of Mithridates 
had brought about a social revolution and the abolition of 
debt, and the re-establishment of Roman authority was followed 
no doubt, in the normal course, by a tendency in favour of the 
wealthier classes. SuUa, however, had done his best to stem 
the current of this reaction. He had restored their value 


84 B.C. in law to contracts concluded between individuals, and had 
re-established the old local obligations between debtor and 
creditor ; but he had also aboHshed the farming of the land- 
tithe upon land decreed by Caius Gracchus, and decided that all 
taxes should be levied hy the province itself. War, revolution, 
and capitalists had played havoc between them with the re- 
sources of Asia. SuUa who, Uke the penurious members of his 
class, had a detestation of financiers, was desirous so far as 
possible to save the province from their exactions. Moreover, 
he was concerned for the payment of his own war indemnity — 
an extraordinary contribution of 20,000 talents and all the 
arrears of tribute for the last five years, with which he hoped to 
purchase the fidehty of his legions.* He must have known 
that these arrangements would embroil him with the financiers, 
many of whom had previously been farmers of the provincial 
land-tax, while others were hoping to become so on the re- 
pression of the revolution. It is not surprising, therefore, 
that the long negotiations between SuUa and the Democrats 
led to no result. Sulla had done his best. He held his hand 
during the whole of the year 84. At last at the beginning of 
83, when the ports of Italy were being closed against him, he 
left the two legions of Fimbria behind him in Asia, and set out 
on his homeward journey, to declare war on the Democratic 
government. He brought with him to the West not only the 
gold of Mithridates and the spoils of the temples of Greece, 
but a more precious possession in the books of Aristotle, which 
he had seized in the library of Apellicon at Athens. 
The Civil It is Unnecessary to deal in detail with the history of the 

Civil War that followed ; it must suffice merely to emphasise 
its one most important result. SuUa, hitherto the representa- 
tive of neither party in the State, ended by becoming, against 
his own wish, the leader of the extreme reactionaries. On 
his arrival in Italy, the survivors of the Conservative party 
flocked from all sides to his standard, and hailed him as the 
dehverer they had so long expected. Attempts were at once 
made to use him as the instrument of their partisan interest, 
and before long some of the younger men of the party found 
courage to take action. One of their number, Cneius Pom- 
peius, son of the Consul of the year 89, and a member of a 
noble but wealthy family, recruited a small force in Picenum. 
Another young noble, Marcus Licinius Crassus, who had lost 
a brother in the revolution, followed his example ; so did 
* App. Mithr., 62 ; Plut. Sulla, 25. Cf. Reinach, M. E., 209 n. 4. 



Metellus Pius, son of the general who had fought against 83-82 b.c. 
Jugurtha. Sulla, however, was not yet willing to become the 
tool of a party clique. He reassured the ItaHans by declaring 
that he would not go back upon the great measure of Italian 
emancipation, and consented further to treat with the popular 
party through the mediation of the Senate. But it was all 
in vain. The chiefs of the popular party, who do not seem, 
with the exception of Sertorius, to have been men of any 
mark, were too distrustful of his intentions. With the whole 
of Italy at their back, they were not disposed to be frightened 
by the few legions of Sulla, and met aU his advances with poHte 
but determined evasion. Thus Sulla was at last driven to 
accept the offers of the Conservatives. He entrusted im- 
portant commands to Pompey, Crassus and Metellus, and took 
up arms as the champion of the counter-revolution. His 
operations were marked by his customary rapidity and decision. 
Before long, by a skilful admixture of force and conciliation, 
he had restored some semblance of order to a society in which 
a long period of unrest and revolution had broken down all 
the ordinary restraints of morality. By the adroit use of his 
money he detached from the democratic party a large number 
of its civil and military supporters, and those who resisted his 
temptations were discouraged by his decisive victories over 
all the leaders of the democratic forces. One after the other 
they fell before his sword ; Sertorius alone succeeded in escap- 
ing to Spain. Within a few months SuUa had overturned the 
revolutionary government and become supreme master of 
Italy, vnth an armed force at his back, while the popular party 
lay crushed beneath his heel, and the Senate sat by, an interested 
but impotent spectator. 

From this time forward Sulla seems a changed man. The Need for the 
proud, lofty and cynical aristocrat had always kept concealed of o'rder'"" 
in his nature a strain of sensual brutality, which at last burst 
out in fuU force. His imperious disdain for his fellow-men 
and the resentment inspired by his perils in the Civil War now 
turned him, whether by instinct or calculation, into a butcher. 
He was not to be deceived by the flattery men paid him after 
his victory. He realised that those very Conservatives to 
whom his victories had been so useful, and for whom he enter- 
tained as sincere a contempt as for their opponents, would be 
the first to bring against him all the old party reproaches, the 
Treaty of Dardanus, the death of Fimbria, the Civil War, and 
the first to abandon him to the tender mercies of the democrats 

82 B.C. 

Sulla's Dicta- 

Sulla and his 


unless order were re-established upon so secure a basis that his 
arrangements remained unassailable either in Italy or in the East. 
For the restoration of order he needed no party allegiance. 
He resolved to do his work thoroughly, and to do it alone. 

His first step was to claim from the Senate the office of 
Dictator, which brought with it the right of hfe and death over 
every citizen for an indefinite period, and plenary powers for 
the reform of the Constitution. The Senate was not in a 
position to resist, and the Lex Valeria granting him the office 
was passed without opposition. Armed with these powers, 
he put to death an enormous number — according to one account 
^000 — of those who had in the present or previous generation, 
supported the democratic movement ; he persecuted their 
families, reduced them to poverty by confiscations, annulled 
all their marriages with aristocratic houses, and decreed that 
the sons of the proscribed should be excluded for ever from 
every office in the State. Whole cities were punished by the 
infliction of fines, the demolition of fortifications, and the con- 
fiscation of public and private lands. He distributed these 
wholesale amongst his veterans, whom he settled upon the 
country, Uke colonists in a conquered province. Two thousand 
seven hundred knights and about lOO senators were put to 
death, and any one who had sinned in the least against the 
interests or the prejudices of the Conservative party went in 
danger of his life. 

Unfortunately in a country already suffering from the effects 
of a whole generation of social disorder, a political re-action 
soon degenerated into an organised pillage. Sulla could hardly 
avoid collecting round him a heterogeneous crowd of adven- 
turers as shameless and unscrupulous as himself — slaves and freed- 
men, plebeians and patricians, bankrupt nobles like Lucius 
Domitius Ahenobarbus and aristocratic financiers hke Marcus 
Crassus. These men succeeded in piling up enormous riches 
by the simple process of buying up cheap the goods of the 
proscribed. SuUa could do nothing to interfere : perhaps 
he would not have wished to had he been able. Cold and 
merciless in the hour of victory as in the hour of danger, he 
was untouched by that desire for adulation so characteristic 
of usurping greatness ; he seems to have felt an exquisite 
satisfaction in showing his comprehensive contempt at once 
for Conservatives and Democrats, rich and poor, Romans and 
Italians, nobles, financiers and plebeians. All equally trembled 
in his presence, as he sat enthroned and indifferent, in his 


palatial home, to receive the homage of all the greatest personages 82-79 '-^ 
in Rome, when with hatred in their hearts they came to pay 
their humble respects to the supreme arbiter of hfe and death. 
He derived a cynical enjoyment from the spectacle of all that 
was noble or illustrious or aristocratic in Roman society, the 
young and old representatives of historic families and the 
fashionable ladies of the nobility, squabbhng and elbowing 
for admission to the sumptuous dinners at which he sat, sur- 
rounded by his favourite singers, thinking only of his meat and 
drink, and not taking even the trouble to ask the names of his 
innumerable and illustrious guests.* With the same sublime 
indifference he allowed his relatives and the friends of his 
youth to wrrangle vnth the crowd of ambitious and greedy 
parasites in his vestibule and to trifle with his complaisance 
to secure the lands, the houses or the slaves of the proscribed ; 
to extract a pardon for some less conspicuous victim or the 
condemnation of some innocent citizen whose wealth or 
character had exposed him to the hatred of his accusers. 
Nothing was too insignificant to escape the cupidity of these 
detestable informers ; a chance friendship or relationship, 
or an inference drawn from some utterly innocent action were 
sufficient to provide material for a capital charge. The 
ntmiber of persons ruined in this way was very considerable. 
A great many took refuge with the barbarians in Spain and 
Mauretania, or at the Court of Mithridates. AH who failed 
to secure the protection of some friend at Court spent their days 
in continual apprehension of arrest. The young son of that 
Caius Julius Caesar, whose sister Marius had married, and who 
had died at Pisa of apoplexy a few years before, was one of those 
whose life was in especial danger ; for he was not only the 
nephew of Marius, but had committed the additional offence 
of marrying Cornelia, the daughter of Cinna. The Dictator 
commanded him to divorce her ; but Caesar who was of passion- 
ate temper, and was moreover very fond of his young wife, in 
whose favour he had refused a rich heiress, Cossutia, refused 
to obey. He preferred to see the confiscation of his own 
patrimony and of the dowry of his wife, and to leave the city 
at the imminent risk of proscription. Soon afterwards, how- 
ever, Sulla was induced by the intervention of some of his 
relatives to extend him a free pardon.^j^ 

* Plut., Cat. U. 3 ; Sulla, 34-36. 

f Suet., Caes., i., Plut., Caes., i. I do not think any political motive 
need be assigned to this act of Caesar's. He was still very young. 


82-79 B.C. The popular party was crushed for the moment ; but it was 
necessary to provide against its possible revival. It was with 
Sulla's re- this object that Sulla, who had now developed into a true 
forms. representative of the Conservative cause, attempted to effect a 

great reform of the constitution on the lines foreshadowed by 
Rutilius Rufus and his small group of aristocratic followers, who 
now suddenly saw almost the whole of their programme put 
into execution. SuUa abolished the Censorship and the public 
distributions of corn ; he increased the number of the Praetors 
to eight, and of the Quaestors to twenty ; he took away from the 
Assembly the power of discussing laws without authorisation from 
the Senate ; he transferred to the Assembly of the Centuries the 
powers which had belonged to the Assembly of the tribes ; he 
deprived the Tribunes of the people of the right of proposing 
laws, and of standing for the higher magistracies, leaving them 
only the right of hearing appeals. He decreed tkat no one should 
be elected to an office except in the normal order of promotion, 
and that re-election should only be possible after the lapse of 
ten years ; he attempted to check the increase of crime by 
sharpening the penalties for offences of violence and fraud. 
He freed no less than 10,000 slaves and gave them full citizen 
rights, selecting the youngest and bravest of those who had 
belonged to the proscribed, added 300 equestrian members 
to the Senate, and restored to that body its old judicial pre- 
Srsettilmln/ ^'^ ^^^^ object, in short, was to break down the influence of 
' the two new powers in the State, the middle class and the 
equestrian order, by a re-estabhshment, with slight modifica- 
tions, of the old aristocratic constitution which had existed 
at the time of the first Punic War, when Italian society, then 
predominantly agricultural, aristocratic and military, had been 
• composed of a perfectly rigid stratification of classes. At the 
top had been an aristocracy which, if not particularly en- 
lightened, was at any rate, both disciplined and powerful ; 
next came the middle classes of the country districts, who 

and quite unknown. It was a youthful indiscretion, due to passion 
or pride, and nothing more. There are divergences between Suetonius 
and Plutarch. Suetonius seems, on the whole, the more trustworthy, 
except as regards the dignity of the Flamen Dialis. Here both are 
wrong, and the true explanation is given by VeUeius, ii. 43. The 
dictum attributed by Plutarch and Suetonius to SuUa that " in Csesar 
there was many a Marius " is certainly apocryphal, 

* Lange, R. A., 3, 144 ff. ; Cantalupi, M. S., no ff. On the con- 
troversy as to Sulla's treatment of the tribunes see Sunden, De tribunicia 
fotestate a L. SuUa imminuta qucestiones, Upsala, 1897. 


were respectfiJ, contented, and prosperous enough for their 82-79 b.c. 
needs ; beneath them again were the slaves, docile and as yet 
not very numerous, who were treated with strictness, but not 
with brutality. By the time when Sulla attempted to restore 
this old order, all these separate layers had become folded and 
broken and inextricably confused, at first by the gradual 
weakening of the aristocracy, then by the steady pressure of 
the middle class from below, and finally by the violent earth- 
quake of the Revolution. He selected for the change the very 
moment when slaves had been incited to betray their pro- 
scribed masters, and when his own parasites were banding 
together in associations in which slave and freedman, aristocrat 
and bourgeois joined hands to do violence to law and custom, 
and to involve the whole of Italy in bloodshed and devasta- 
tion. His settlement can hardly be classed as an aristo- 
cratic restoration, for the Roman aristocracy had already 
ceased to exist. Rather it was a wild and sanguinary carnival, 
in Italy and Asia and throughout the Roman dominions, of 
a small oHgarchy of slaves and assassins, of needy aristocrats 
and unscrupulous adventurers, remorseless usurers and pro- 
fessional condottieri, triumphing over a vast Empire of op- 
pressed miUions who in one passionate and impotent access 
of fury had risen against their oppressors. Impassive amidst 
the carousals of the actors, singers, and dancers who nightly 
flocked to his halls, SuUa looked complacently on at a victory 
which he had not sought, but for which nevertheless, he was 
alone responsible. The moment he felt secure of his life as 
a private individual in the Empire which he governed as 
Dictator, he abdicated his office to devote himself more com- 
pletely to a life of pleasure. It did not spare him long. At 
the beginning of 78 he died. 

It would be unjust to credit SuUa with the worst sort of Order against 
ambition ; he was a sincere Republican who hastened to give ■''" 
up his power the moment it was possible for him to do so 
without danger to his own life and that of his friends. But 
the force of circumstances and the peculiar Hmitations of his 
own nature caused him to play a less conspicuous part in 
history than might have been expected from a man of his 
activity and intelligence. He was far from being a model 
of the true Republican ; to compare him with a man like 
Washington, for instance, would be ludicrous. Remarkable 
as he was for the clearness with which he conceived his ideas, 
and the infinite energy and resource which he displayed in their 


78 B.C. execution, he was incapable of any great depth of passion or of any 
really creative intellectual conception ; he lacked just that spark 
of divine madness, that almost mystical power of inspiration 
which is reserved for the greatest spirits and seems somehow 
to embody, in confused and unconscious form, the vital instinct 
of our race as it presses onwards towards the future. Thinking 
only of self-indulgence, and indifferent to all that was outside, 
this narrow range, nothing seized his attention in the life of 
his time but the confusion introduced into the structure of 
its society — a confusion due apparently to the perverseness 
and folly of mankind, and needing only, he thought, to be 
set right with the sword. Thus he succeeded in creating, 
not a Constitution or an Empire, but simply a gigantic . 
system of police — conceived with unerring clearness, and 
executed with superhuman energy. These police measures 
were perhaps necessary at that moment to save the Empire 
and the whole of ancient civilisation from the destruction 
with which they were threatened by the desperate revolt of 
the oppressed thousands in Italy and Asia. But its value in 
history does not exceed that of all similar systems. Order, 
even in the best organised State, is only a smooth and specious 
fiction in the place of justice and wisdom. An ordered society 
is like a field which has periodically to be touched and torn 
by the plough before the soil receives the virtue to renew its 
creative power. The terrible upheaval in ItaHan society may 
perhaps be compared to a ploughshare penetrating into the 
very depths of the old order, turning and returning the soil of 
which it was composed, bringing to light much that had been 
hidden, breaking up into powder much that for many months 
had been hardened in the sun, opening new pores for the 
showers of heaven, waking into activity aU the living seeds 
within as a preparation for a new and abundant harvest. Marius 
had contributed his part to this great revival, in spite^^of the 
criminal ambitions of his later years, by tracing the large out- 
lines of the new military organisation of Rome, and by helping 
to solve the question of Italian emancipation. Sulla con- 
tributed nothing at aU. His work was even more self-con- 
tradictory than that of the Gracchi. He chmbed into power 
by wielding the chief weapon of the new plutocracy, by the 
lavish use of money among friends and opponents. He used 
it to restore the political institutions of the age of agriculture. 
No wonder that his work and his influence were short-lived. 
The imposing edifice of his constitution was like a cabin of 


reeds put together on the sea-shore, that is carried away with 78 b.c. 
one burst of rough sea wind. Nothing survived of his work 
but the fear inspired hy a type of statesman new to the history 
of Rome, a type which contemporaries regarded as the personal 
creation of SuUa, but which was in reality simply the inevitable 
offspring of the commercial era and of democracy as it was 
understood in the ancient world — the type of the military 
chief at the head of a devoted army which he controls by his 
money and by the sword. 

Thus ended the stormy generation which had opened with The new Italy 
the assassination of the Gracchi. In the midst of all this con- 
fusion, one great historic process had been quietiy .completed. 
The old Italy, the Italy of Oscans, SabeUians, Umbrians, 
Latins, Etruscans, Greeks and Gauls had disappeared into the 
past. In place of a number of small federal republics, there 
was now a single Italian nation, with an agriculture, a com- 
merce, an army, a civihsation and a culture of its own, welded 
together into a solid and compact middle class out of a medley 
of human units from all parts of the peninsula who had been 
thrown together, in close and intimate relations, by the tie 
of a common ambition, by fellowship in study, in commerce, 
or in arms. 


Caesar's first Eastern journey — Csesar at the siege of Mitylene 
and the Court of Nicomedes — Scandals about his stay in 
Bithynia — His return to Rome — ^The revolution of Brutus and 
Lepidus — Pompey — Patrimony and vicissitudes of Caesar's 
family — He accuses Dolabella and Antonius — Corruption of 
the Conservative party — Failure of Caesar — He returns to the 
East — His capture by pirates — The war against Sertorius — 
Revival of prosperity in Italy after the revolution — Revival 
of conquests — Financial expansion of Italy — Italian usurers 
and capitalists in Gaul, Spain, Greece, and Asia — ^The slave- 
trade — The civilising influence of the Asiatic slaves in Italy — 
High life at Rome — Luxury and refinements — Dress — Cato 
and the new fashions — Spread of education ; desire for ency- 
clopaedic information ; the philosophy of Aristotle — More 
slaves employed in field work ; progress of agriculture — ^Vine 
and olive cultivation — Stock breeding — Increase of share- 
holding companies — General rise of the standard of comfort 
— Spread of the trading spirit to the middle class — General 
enthusiasm for education — The ItaUan bourgeoisie. 

Caesar in After his narrow escape from Sulla, Caius Julius Caesar, like 

itbynia. many another young aristocrat who has committed an impru- 

dence, decided to go away from Rome on an extensive journey. 
He left Italy in the suite of the pro-Praetor Marcus Minutius 
Thermus for the siege of Mitylene, the last of the rebel cities 
in Asia to hold out against the Romans. From Mitylene he 
went on to Bithynia, sent by Thermus on a mission to the old 
king to demand ships to assist in the siege. His stay in the 
palace of Nicomedes, far from Rome and his family, afterwards 
became a by-word with his enemies, who were fond of relating 
how the young Caesar plunged deep in aU the vices of an Oriental 
Court.* The legend is not impossible in itself, but the allega- 
tions of pohtical opponents, particularly upon matters of this 
nature, have never been regarded as serious evidence. What 

■* Suet., Caesar, 2 and 49 ; Dion, xliii. 20. The account of this first 
phase of Caesar's life, so clearly given in Suetonius, is obscure and 
confused in Plut. Caes., 1-4. See also Dio. Cass., xliii. 20. 



is certain is that he made repeated visits to the Court of Nico- 78 b.c. 
medes* between this time and 78, when Publius Servilius, 
Pro-Consul of CUicia undertook a campaign against the pirates 
of Lycia and PamphyUa. Caesar then joined ServiHus, and 
held a subordinate command in the operations ; but shortly 
afterwards, on the news of Sulla's death, he returned to the 

He found Rome, with the great Dictator removed, far from The oUgarchi- 
happy under the rule of the oligarchs. The morrow of an *=*' '=**'*'• 
abortive revolution has an atmosphere all its own ; distrust and 
dissension, hatred and anxiety, seem to poison the very air 
men breathe. And it is the victors, the triumphant repre- 
sentatives of police, order and security who suffer most from 
its contagion. Sulla's successors were neither united amongst 
themselves nor confident in their powers. In spite of the 
gigantic effort made by Sulla, the aristocratic constitution 
he had established was by no means well founded ; it offended 
a great number of individual interests without responding in 
any way to the needs of tljie age. Nor could it be expected 
to work smoothly and successfully in the absence of the old 
Roman nobility, for whose use or in whose memory it had been 
devised. It is true that the survivors of the hereditary aris- 
tocracy, in particular the representatives of its most respected 
houses, such as Quintus Lutatius Catulus, rallied vigorously 
to the support of a constitution which had realised all the 
reactionary ideas of their class. They imagined that the tide 
of democratic advance, which had been encroaching so peril- 
ously during the last two generations, had been swept back 
for ever ; that the old aristocratic constitution, the sole founda- 
tion of Roman greatness, had been firmly and finally secured 
against attack. But a small group of noble families does not 
make up a nobility, and these respectable aristocrats formed 
in reality but an insignificant minority of the ruHng caste. 
Side by side vwth them, and bound by the same party allegiance, 
there were the associates and the hangmen of SuUa, enriched 
by the confiscation of the goods of the proscribed ; there were 
stragglers and deserters from the party of Marius ; there were 
the old moderate Conservatives, now transformed by the 
revolution into reactionaries of the deepest dye ; there was 
the whole familiar class of trimmers and turncoats whose 
gaze is always turned towards the rising sun. So far from 
being representative of one section or order in the State, the 
* Suet., Caes., 2. 

78 B.C. 

The Cabal 
and Itaiian 
national sen- 


Conservative party was little better than a band of political 
adventurers, of a predominantly low-class character, manifestly 
unworthy of that respectful obedience which is the very essence 
of aristocratic government. 

The ruling faction may have been fully conscious of their 
lack of moral authority : but they might still hope to hold Italy 
together in a common detestation for the party of their oppo- 
nents. It was a congenial poUcy, and they adopted it with 
alacrity. They set consistently to work to brand the revolu- 
tionaries as pariahs. They excluded from the Senate, the 
magistracies and the provincial governorships all who would 
not bow the knee to Sulla and the Conservative chiefs as the 
sole great men of the preceding generation, or refused to heap 
contumely upon the democratic party and its representatives, 
and upon the ideas and causes for which Marius in particular 
had fought. Yet the pretence was too unreal to impose on 
men for long. Despite all its failings, there was no denying 
that the democrats had done good service to Italy. If the men 
now in power affected to class Marius with the corsairs and 
criminals, and took an unworthy deHght in overturning his 
trophies, it remained none the less true that it was Marius 
who had repulsed the Cimbri and Teutones, and Sulla who 
had signed the Treaty of Dardanus. It was impossible there- 
fore for the Conservative clique to parade their hatred of the 
democrats and their chiefs without wounding the national 
susceptibilities of Italy. And indeed the ItaUans regarded 
them wdth anything but favour. With no moral or senti- 
mental prestige to protect them, Svdla's suA;essors were 
encamped in the centre of the country like a small army of 
occupation in a conquered land, surrounded and harassed 
on aU sides by bands of watchful and implacable enemies. 
The reaction had meant insult, humiUation, and ruin to a 
large circle of individuals : Sulla had sown a crop of bitter and 
painful memories in every corner of Italy. The sons of the 
proscribed who had lost parents, possessions and poUtical 
rights, the cities which had been robbed of territory and Roman 
citizenship, the knights who had forfeited their power in the 
law-courts and almost all their old political influence, the great 
Italian middle class which was afraid of losing the privileges 
it had so painfully won, all these formed an angry and restless 
multitude of opponents in face of which the strongest govern- 
ment might well have felt dismay. Several of these factions 
were indeed temporarily disorganised and dispersed by the 


terror of persecution. But what would happen on the day 78 b.c. 
that they were re-united under a single leader ? 

There was one way indeed, in which the oligarchs might The loreign 
hope to gain strength and prestige — the adoption of a boldg!^"^''^"'* 
foreign policy, and the achievement of some striving military 
and diplomatic success. The Government, might, for instance, 
have won pardon for many of its failings by wiping out the 
stain of the Treaty of Dardanus. But a small political cabal 
hastily made up, in the midst of a great pohtical upheaval, out 
of a number of discordant and vacillating elements, and para- 
lysed by the very horror of the experiences through which it 
had passed, had no energy left for a vigorous initiative. Its 
most powerful instrument, the Senate, remained entirely 
inactive, attempting to avoid every occasion of war in the fear 
of the possible consequences of defeat, and refusing to risk 
on distant expeditions any considerable part of the forces 
whose presence seemed indispensable to maintain order at 
home. This was curiously exempHfied in the year 81, when 
Alexander II., King of Egypt, followed the example of the 
King of Pergamus and bequeathed his country to the Senate. 
Egypt was the richest kingdom of the ancient world : yet the 
Senate rejected it outright, merely taking over the money 
treasure of the deceased king which had been deposited at 
Tyre. It is true that when Mithridates demanded the recogni- 
tion of the Treaty of Dardanus the Senate refused to comply. 
But, however unwilling it might stiU show itself to share Sulla's 
responsibilities, it did not seem to be aware that its refusal 
made a second war inevitable, and made no preparations 
whatever for meeting it. 

It is not surprising therefore that on the death of Sulla LepWus' eon- 
the surviving members of the democratic party began to show * * P' 
signs of activity. A serious incident, which happened while 
Caesar was in the East, soon demonstrated to all the world the 
inherent weakness of Sulla's government without a SuUa to 
direct it. On the first outbreak of the new popular agitation 
the democrats actually secured for their chief a certain Marcus 
iEirulius Lepidus, one of the Consuls for the year 78. Lepidus 
was rich and of noble family, and the ovraer of the grandest 
palace in Rome.* He had hitherto been a Conservative, and 
in SuUa's circle, and had even enriched himself by buying up 
the goods of the proscribed.f But he was ambitious, volatile 

* Pliny, N. H., xxxvi. xv., 109. t Mommsen, R. G., iii. 18. 

Rising: in 


78 B.C. and head-strong, and had taken offence because Sulla had tried 
to prevent his election in the Consulship. After Sulla's death,* 
he secured the leadership of the popular party by proposing 
to re-establish the distributions of corn,t to recall the exiles,! 
and to restore their electoral rights,§ and their lands to the 
towns which had been robbed of them.|| His agitation proved 
unexpectedly successful. 

The weakness of the government was manifest from the 
very first. Although Lepidus stood almost alone in his propa- 
ganda, the Senate, many of whose members had committed 
murder and extortion during the reaction, and which had no 
trustworthy troops at its disposal in the capital, was intimidated 
into partial submission. It yielded on the question of the 
distributions of corn and the return of the exiles, but offered 
vigorous opposition to the other proposals, particularly that 
of the restitution of lands.fl But the agitation of Lepidus 
had roused a spirit of revolt all over Italy. In the neighbour- 
[Fxsuice.] hood of Fiesole, in Etruria, many of the landlords who had 
been despoiled hy SuUa, took up arms to drive out the occu- 
pants of their old domains.** At Rome the extreme Con- 
servatives, headed by the other Consul, Quintus Lutatius 
Catulus,tt accused Lepidus of fomenting rebellion, and proposed 
energetic measures of suppression, which the Senate had not 
the courage to adopt.JJ It was thought simpler to remove 
Lepidus from Rome by finding various pretexts for hastening 
the departure of the two Consuls for their provinces before 
the election of their successors had taken place. It appears 
that their provinces had already been assigned to them, Narbo- 
nese Gaul to Lepidus, Italy to Catulus ; §§ they were now 

* Peter, G. R., ii. 138 ; Itme, R. G., vi. 8 ; Mommsen, R. G., iii. 18 ; and 
Driimann, R. G., iv. 339, relying on the speech of Lepidus in Sallust, 
Hist., i. fr. 55 (Maurenbrecher), believe that his opposition began 
while SuUa was still alive. I agree with Nitzsch, G. V., ii. 176, and 
Franke, J. P. P., 1893, i. 49, in placing the outbreak of the movement 
after Sulla's death. 

t Gran., Licinius 43, ed. Bonn. 

J Gran., Licinius 43., ; Florus, ii. 11 ; Sail., Hist. fr. yy, 6, ed. 
Maurenbrecher, Leipzig, 1893. 

§ A probable conjecture of Driimann's (G. R., iv. 342.) 

II Gran., Lie, 43 ; App,, B. C, i. 107. 

t Franke, J. P. P., 1893, i. 54-55- 

** Gran., Lie, 45. tf Pl"t- Pomp., 16. 

ii Plut., Pomp., 16. It is to this incident, I believe, and not to 
an actual attack on Rome by Lepidus to which Sail., Hist., i. fr. 77 
6 B. refers. 

§§ Sail., Hist. Fr. 66, is surely alluding to the departure of the 
Consuls for their provinces, and not as Mommsen (R. G., iii. 26), thinks 



given large sums of money for their administration, and com- 78 b.c. 
pelled to take an oath not to turn their arms against one 

Returning to Rome in the midst of these commotions, Caesar Casar'sre- 
naturally met with anything but a cordial reception from the ""■°- 
ruling clique, who had by no means forgotten his parentage 
and his past. His sudden arrival, timed apparently just on the 
eve of a new popular rising, must have seemed to them very 
suspicious. ^ The Marian party were, in fact, already planning 
an insurrection. Lepidus had taken the Senate's money and 
left for his province ; but he interrupted his journey in 
Etruria, and began openly calling the poorer classes in that 
district and other parts of Italy to his standard. Meanwhile 
Marcus Junius Brutus, another noble who had been com- 
promised by the [revolution, and owed his pardon by SuUa 
simply to family connections, was recruiting an army amongst 
the dregs of the population in the Po valley,* almost certainly 
in connivance with Lepidus. At Rome there were many who 
were in the secret of the conspiracy and prepared to follow 
tha two Revolutionary chiefs. Caesar's brother-in-law, Cinna, 
tried to persuade him to join ; ■[■ but Caesar refused. Years 
and experience had tempered the ardour of the young gallant 
who had risked his head for his lady, and confirmed lum in 
a native caution which is henceforward one of his most 
characteristic instincts. 

On the outbreak of the war the Senate needed two safe Pompey's re- 
generals to take command against Lepidus and Brutus. One *""' 
was very naturally the Consul Catulus ; the other should have 
been a magistrate in high position. But among the conspicuous 
members of Sulla's party it was impossible to overlook the young 
Cneius Pompeius. Pompey was born in 106, of a rich and 
noble family. We have seen that, while stiU a youth, he had 
distinguished himself at the head of an army during the civil 
wars carried on by Sulla after his return to Italy ; since then 
he had married a niece of the Dictator, and was now the most 
promising of the younger members of the party. His ambition 
prompted him at this juncture to ask the Senate for the chief 
command of the war, in spite of the fact that he was a private 
to a joint expedition into Etruria to repress the disorders, which 
hardly required two Consuls to attend to them. The corresponding 
passage in Gran., Lie, 45, is too fragmentary and uncertain to be 
used as evidence. The whole story is very obscure. See Franke, 
J. P. P., 1893. i. p. 57- 

* Franke, J. P. P., 1893, i., p. 56. f Suet., Caes., 3. 

78 B.C. 

Defeat and 
death of 
Brutus and 



citizen occupying no official position. That such a demand 
should be presented by a friend and follower of SuUa, who had 
imposed so strict an observance of the old rules for the succes- 
sion of offices, was indeed incongruous : it only serves to show 
once more that even the intimates of the Dictator only took 
his constitution seriously where it happened to coincide with 
their own personal interests. The Senate, with its usual 
timidity, did not venture to rebuff a young man with Pompey's 
record. Heedless of the stipulations of the constitution it 
was professing to defend, it entrusted him with an army 
for the campaign against Brutus. 

Fighting began soon afterwards. Lepidus made a bold 
attempt to seize Rome, but was successfully held at bay by 
the Consul Catulus and by Appius Claudius, whom the Senate 
had been prevailed upon to nominate interrex with plenary 
powers.* In the North Brutus was defeated by Pompey 
and shut up in Modena. He eventually surrendered on 
condition that his life should be spared, but was treacherously 
put to death by his conqueror,t leaving behind him at 
Rome a young widow named Servilia, and a son, a little 
more than a year old,t who bore his father's name. Owing 
to the defeat of Brutus, and possibly also to the losses which 
he had suffered in his attacks on Rome, Lepidus retired again 
towards the North. He was, however, defeated once more 
at Cosa in Etruria, and embarked with the rest of his army 
for Sardinia, where he fought several unsupcessful actions 
against the Governor Caius Valerius Triarius ; § he died not 
long afterwards, a victim to the hardships of campaigning, 
and also, it is said, to chagrin at the infidelity of his vnie. The 
surviving members of his army were taken to Spain by an officer 
named Perpenna, to join forces with Sertorius. 

Caesar had been both prudent and fortunate in steering clear 
of these complications : but, ambitious like the rest of his genera- 
tion, he was now longing to make his mark. He was a member of 
an ancient family which had for the last six generations obtained 
no higher office than praetorship and had forfeited its position 

* I agree with Franke, J. P. P., 1893, i., p. 63 n. 4, that Florus 
ii. 23, is wrong in saying that Rome was defended by Pompey and 
Catulus. Pompey was at that time in the Po valley about to engage 
Brutus, as is related in Plut., Pomp., i6. 

t Plut., Pomp., 16 ; Oros, v., 22 ; Livy, P., 90. 

J Bynum, L. M. J. B., 6 ff., has convinced me that Brutus was 
bom in 79 or 78, and not, as generally supposed, in 85. 

§ Asc. in Scaur, p. 19 (Orel.) ; B. C. H., ii. p. 265 n. 27, 


by forming connections with parvenus like Marius, and with 77 b.c 
members of the capitalist bourgeoisie, thus escaping financial 
disaster, but without successfully attaining to wealth.* If 
Caesar was able to play a prominent part and to live on a lavish 
scale, he owed it to the wisdom of his mother, AureHa, who was 
an admirable specimen of the old-fashioned Roman matron.t 
The time had come for him to make his debut. FeeUng better 
fitted for experiments in the field of eloquence than in that 
of revolutionary action, he began in 77 by prosecuting two 
powerful personages in Sulla's clique, Cornehus Dolabella, 
a friend of the Dictator and ex-Governor of Macedonia, and 
Caius Antonius Hybrida, another of Sulla's generals. He 
accused them, of course with a purely poUtical object, of crimes 
committed in Greece during the late war. 

There could be no doubt that the Conservative government The adminis- 
had grossly abused its powers. In spite of all Sulla's efforts, cabSI"''* ^ 
his reaction had only tended to increase the corruption and 
debasement of Roman poUtics. It had reduced to sUence the 
tribunes of the people, whose unquestioned rights in the 
Roman democracy were analogous to those enjoyed by the Press 
in the western world of to-day : it had crushed the Democratic 
party, and terrorised the middle class, the proletariat and the 
knights who had been the backbone of its strength. The result 
was that, in the absence of free speech, the pushing and un- 
scrupulous members of the party had easily driven all their more 
respectable competitors into the background. The financial 
administration was in the hands of the quaestors, Ught-headed 
young aristocrats with no taste for the complicated mathe- 
matics of their department, who allowed the officials of the 
Treasury to abuse their confidence by drawing up false balance 
sheets, neglecting to force payment from the State debtors, 
and playing havoc in a hundred ways with the public revenues.^ 
Violent, avaricious and unscrupulous pohticians, including 
many who had won a disagreeable notoriety during Sulla's 
proscriptions, such as Caius Verres, Cnasus Dolabella and 
PubUus Cethegus, had no difficulty in securing election to 
high office and exercised a dominant influence amongst the 
languid and fashionable crowd which filled the Senate house. 
Their hand was even heavier on the provinces than on Italy. 
In Narbonese Gaul, for instance, the financiers were continually 

* This appears to me a fair conclusion drawn by Drumann, G. R., 
iii. 733, from the course of Caesar's early career. 

t See Driimann, G. R., iii. 128. X Plut., Cato of Utica, 17-18. 

I H 



77 B.C. bringing pressure to bear upon dishonest governors to filch 
the lands of the free tribes on the frontiers, and lease them out 
at low rates to Roman capitalists.* All through the provinces 
governors committed acts of cruelty and spoliation which 
practically always went unpunished. At Rome itself there 
was no guarantee for justice ; the Senatorial tribunals re- 
constituted by Sulla were even more inefficient than those of 
the knights ; no rich and powerful man had any difficulty 
in securing an acquittal provided he employed the necessary 
intrigues and disposed of the necessary wealth.f There was 
scope enough and to spare, as Caesar knew, for the prosecution 
of a provincial governor, and he might reasonably expect to 
find public opinion on his side. 
Sertoriusand Yet for all this Caesat had selected a most unpropitious 
moment. No sooner was the scare from Lepidus dispelled than 
a new danger appeared from two opposite quarters of the 
horizon. The first sign of trouble came from Spain, where 
Sertorius, originally a small peasant proprietor from Norcia, 
who had been sent by his mother to study law, and who had 
turned instead to soldiering, had unfurled the drooping standard 
of the revolutionary cause. He had over-run almost the 
entire peninsula, built himself an arsenal, organised an army, 
and founded a school to give a Latin education to the sons of 
the Spanish nobihty. He had,moreover, welcomed the fugi- 
tives of the party of Marius, chosen a Senate from amongst 
their number, and inflicted numerous defeats upon the SuUan 
commander, MeteUus Pius. But he was not the champion of 
a mere local movement. At the other end of the world Mithri- 
dates, stung by the refusal of the Senate to put its signature 
to the Treaty of Dardanus, was exercising aU his energy to 
prepare for a new war, laying up huge supplies of money, 
stores and arms, and entering into secret agreements with 
the pirates, who had profited by the anarchy of the revolution 
to renew their exploits in all parts of the Mediterranean. 
Persuaded by his previous experience that a small but efficient 
body of troops was far more serviceable in the field than the 
huge and cumbrous array of the ordinary Oriental army, he 
was trying to organise a force on the Roman model with the 
help of numerous Italians who had entered his service. J There 
was grave anxiety at Rome amongst those who remembered 

* See the whole speech of Cicero Pro Fonteio. 
t Cic, in Verr., A., i. 13, 37-40 ; 15, 43-5. 
I Reinach, M. E., 315 ff. 


the stormy days of 89. Once again they seemed face to face 77 b.c. 
with the three-fold danger of a Civil War in Italy, Mithri- 
dates in the Eastern provinces, and the obstinate and daring 
resistance of the pirates. Nor did they fail to suspect some 
mysterious agreement between Mithridates and Sertorius 
across the length of sea that separated Spain from Pontus.* 

In such a crisis as this, accusations brought, however justly, FaUure of 
against persons in high position, were too reminiscent of the prosecation. 
futile tribunician scandals of old to disturb the political equi- 
librium. Unprincipled pohticians denounced them as sub- 
versive and revolutionary, and the moderates, too nervous, 
despite the honesty of their intentions, to back up the accusers, 
disguised any satisfaction they may have felt at this bold attack 
on the ruling faction. Thus, in spite of the daring eloquence 
of their assailant, the two accused were safely acqviitted, and 
Csesar found himself more deeply compromised than ever in 
the eyes of a Government which already suspected him as the 
nephew of Marius.t He had blundered once more, and he 
was not slow to perceive it. And indeed all the luck fell to 
the young men of the opposite party. Pompey had returned 
from his war against Rufus more vain and self-confident than 
ever. Not satisfied with the laurels he had already won, he 
kept his troops under arms in the neighbourhood of Rome, 
and began intriguing to be sent to Spain to reinforce Metellus 
against Sertorius. Although Pompey had not yet been elected 
to a single magistracy, the Senate was too apprehensive of a 
second military revolt to refuse its sanction to the arrangement. J 

On Pompey's appointment Caesar lost heart and decided to Cssaj- and 
renew his Eastern travels. He set out at once for Rhodes, ^^ pirates, 
at that time the favourite resort of rich young Romans who 
wanted to perfect their oratorical style. But an unpleasant 
adventure befell him on his way out : he was captured by 
a crew of pirates, who kept him prisoner on board ship for some 
fifty days, and only released him on the return of the trusty 
messengers, his slave Epicrates amongst others, whom he had 
sent on to Asia for a ransom. It was an annoying mishap, 
which could not fail to cause amusement at his expense in 
Roman society. But he consoled himself on the recovery 
of his liberty by sending home a delightful romance about his 
captivity, telling how he had lived for forty days with the 
pirates hke a prince among his slaves, joining in their 

* SaU., Hist., ii., xlvii. 6 ft. t Suet., Caes., 4. 

J Plut,, Pomp., 17. 



77 B.C. sports, reading them his poems, and threatening to have them 
all hanged if ever they restored him to liberty. The end of it 
was, of course, that as soon as he recovered his freedom he had 
actually manned a vessel, tracked his captors, and had several 
of them crucified.* Whatever the truth underlying the tale, 
Caesar settled down quietly and seriously to study at Rhodes, 
while round about him, unsuspected by him as by all his con- 
temporaries, a new society was slowly being formed and per- 
fected, as the straggHng survivors of the great age of Revolu- 
tion passed away to make room for a fresh generation, born about 
the year 100. 
Benefitsofthe For indeed the pessimists had once more been refuted. 
The ordeals of recent years had not hurt Italy beyond healing. 
Once the terrors of the Revolution and the Reaction were 
removed, she began slowly to adapt herself to the changed 
conditions they had created, and to find in them new instru- 
ments for social well-being. That, after all, is a constant law 
of national life ; and there were many influences at work 
which permitted Italy to obey it. The butchers and plunderers 
who had run riot through the peninsula had laboured better 
than they knew : they were the harbingers and pioneers 
of a coming prosperity ; they had re-established the equi- 
librium between wealth and poverty. Massacres like those 
which culminated in the Civil War and the Mithridatic cam- 
paigns, would no doubt have been sufficient to overwhelm a 
small subject or tributary nation, poor in capital and slaves and 
living on the produce of its own labour, which must have failed 
to repair the loss of so much capacity from its fields, its work- 
shops and its army. But this was far from being the case with 
Italy. Here, where thousands were strugghng to make profit 
out of Rome's poHtical supremacy over the Mediterranean 
peoples and to live upon the labour of slaves and subject 
nations, these wars and massacres entailed advantages of their 
own : they reduced the competitors and improved the 
conditions in the race for riches and renown. In not a few 
families decimated by the Revolution, the surviving members 
found themselves on the return of peace, notwithstanding 
all the losses they had sustained, more comfortably off than 
they had been before. Moreover, the revolutionary Govern- 
ment had in 86 decreed the reduction of all debts by 75 
per cent., thus relieving many a patrimony of its heaviest 
burdens and compensating a large number of individuals, at the 
* Id. Caes. 2, Suet., Caes. 4. 


expense of quite a few, for the injuries inflicted by the civil 77 b.c. 

Italy emerged from the crisis, with her finances repaired SuUa's spoils, 
and her army reorganised. If she had only been able to save 
her Empire by acquiescence in a humiliating treaty, she was 
stiU strong enough after her victory to force Greece and Asia 
to pay a part of the costs of her revolution. SuUa alone had 
captured in Asia and sold to Italians vast quantities of slaves ; 
he had confiscated throughout Greece many lands belonging 
to tovras and temples, and leased them to Italian capitalists ; 
and had paid into the Treasury all that remained of his Asiatic 
spoils, 15,000 pounds of gold and 115,000 pounds of silver, 
equivalent to-day to about ,^800,000,* and worth a great 
deal more than this according to the ancient standard of 
prices. If we add to this the sums given by him to his 
troops in Asia and brought by them to Italy, those spent 
in Italy to win over the men of the democratic army, and those 
which he kept for himself or gave away to his friends, we shall 
probably arrive at a total four or five times as great as this. 

Another still more important effect of his victories must not The Financiers 
be overlooked. They revived, on something very like its old ^ovSicesf'^™ 
scale, the old system of exploiting the provinces. This was 
especially the case in Asia, where SuUa had vainly attempted 
to introduce better methods by his abolition of tax farming. 
Though the land taxes were no longer leased out to Italian 
knights, the cities of Asia had stiU to pay Sulla a contribution 
of 20,000 talents and five years' arrears of taxation, a crushing 
exaction, which, falling upon a country already crippled by 
revolution and war, drove towns and private individuals to 
borrow largely from the only great capitalists of the time, 
the Italian financiers. The condition of Greece, by nature 
a poorer province, was stiU more unfortunate. Called back 
to the country by towns and private individuals in need of 
funds, the Roman capitalists, who had been hunted down 
with so much fury but ten years before, made their way back 
one by one to snatch all that remained over after the great 
upheaval. We find them at Delos, which had suffered so 
cruelly from Mithridates, at Patras and Argos, in Ehs and 
Laconia, at Tenos, Mitylene, Assos and Lampsacus, even in 
the still independent State of Bithynia.f Wherever they 

* Pliny, N. H., xxxiii., i, i6. 

t Delos: Strabo, x., S, 4 (486) is mistaken, as the inscriptions 
and excavations have shown. Cf» Homolle, in B. C. H., viii., 140 ff. 


77 B.C. appeared they lent money to towns and private persons, secured 
part of the local commerce and export trade, and took the 
Indebtedness place of the native merchants ruined by the war. Amongst 
nient."^'"*' their number was a young man named Titus Poinponius 
Atticus, a knight who had inherited an immense fortune from 
his uncle, one of the richest tax-farmers in Rome. Atticus 
had gone to Athens after Sulla's victory, to study at the 
University and so escape the dangers of the Revolution ; but 
finding in the fallen greatness of HeUas a fruitful field for 
the investment of his capital, he had been able to combine 
business with learning and so to increase both in wealth and 
wisdom.* Greece and Asia were indeed no longer so rich a 
prey as at the time of their original annexation ; too many 
greedy adventurers had already picked over them, and the 
larger part of the riches accumulated by the Attalids had long 
since been carried off by Italian capitalists, Roman officials, 
or the generals of Mithridates. Yet there was stiU, especially 
in Asia, much treasure to be won by western enterprise ; there 
were works of art, precious metals and splendid buildings, 
artisans skilled in every branch of labour, and peasants who 
could make wealth out of the inexhaustible resources of the 
soil. Capitalists were able to secure mortgages on future 
harvests, to seize statues, pictures and goldsmiths' work, houses, 
estates, public buildings, and finally the native inhabitants 
themselves, reducing to slavery all peasants who were unable 
to pay their debts or accepting in lieu of payment the sons and 
daughters of their debtors.f Many financiers now also turned 
their attention to Narbonese Gaul, where the taxes raised 
for the army which was fighting in Spain against Sertorius 
drove many private individuals and cities into debt. Finally, 
in Italy itself, if the revolution had destroyed a large amount 
of wealth, it had put into circulation a great deal more which 
had lain idle for centuries, such as the Treasures dedicated 
in temples and the sacred property sold by the Senate. 

Patras. : Cic. ad Fam., xiii., 17 and 50. Argos: C. I. L., iii., 531 ; 7265 
Elis. : Cic. ad F. xiii., 26. Lacoma : Le Bas Waddington, V. A., 242, a. 
Tenos: C. I. G., 2335. Mitylene : C. I. L., 3, 7160. Assos. : Papers of 
the American School at Athens, i, 30-32. Other inscriptions on 
Italian merchants, probably dating from this time: B. C. H., 1878, 
598 fi., 1880, 161, 179, 515. Lampsacus : Cic. in Verr, A. 2, i. xxvii., 69. 
Bithjmia; Suet., Caes., 49. 

* Cf. Driimann, G. R., v. 8. That Atticus lent without interest, 
as stated by Com. Nep. Att. 2, may possibly be true of Athens, where 
he lived, but is certainly untrue of the rest of Greece, 

f Plut. Luc. 20 ; App., Mithr., 63. 


So Italy had very considerable compensations for her suffer- 77 ^■^■ 
ings during the war and the Revolution. The enormous mass 
of property stolen and confiscated during the democratic 
revolution and under the reaction, had changed masters, but 
had as a rule not been destroyed. The despoiled proprietors 
had no doubt a thousand good reasons for complaining, but 
the nation as a whole had received no very serious injury. 
The national wealth was still largely intact, and its new 
owners were no less desirous than their predecessors to exploit 
and to enjoy it. 

AU this serves to explain how, during the years when Caesar The new slave 
was studying at Rhodes, almost on the morrow of a sanguinary "°""*'''* '°''" 
internecine struggle, there was yet a marked increase in the 
general luxury and comfort. The East, after all, was the centre 
of the oldest civilisation, the true seat of the arts and industries 
and of agriculture, the home of the most accompHshed workers, 
cultivators and artists in the ancient world, who produced for 
the wealthy classes of all the Mediterranean countries. Amongst 
the slaves captured in Asia by Sulla during the Mithridatic 
War and sold to ItaHan merchants,* and amongst those whom 
the financiers afterwards bought in Asia or who were kidnapped 
by pirates, there were skilful field labourers, gardeners, dyers, 
weavers, perfumers, cooks, sculptors, painters, smiths, metal 
workers, musicians, engineers, architects, writers, grammarians, 
all of them men and women of fine and active inteUigence 
quick to pick up any new accomphshment, Hcit or illicit, at 
the bidding of their masters. Hundreds of Italian families 
had been prepared by the slow infiltration of Graeco-Oriental 
influences to welcome the great inrush from the East when it 
came ; they were receptive of new manners and ideas and 
ready to enjoy what they had saved or gained during the 
Revolution. These slaves were just the teachers they needed ; 
under their supple tuition the masters of the world no longer 
dispersed the wealth of their conquests in barbaric profusion 
to satisfy the grosser appetites ; they learnt to improve their 
agriculture, to refine their manners, to study and enjoy the 
fine arts, and to make vice itself compatible with elegance 
and distinction. 

Thus, while Caesar was quietly studying at Rhodes, life and Roman high 
fashions at Rome were being completely transformed. The 
new influences from the East had created a new social atmos- 
phere.' Old distinctions were being broken down, old pre- 
* App., Mithr., 61, 


77 B.C. judices overcome, and the most different tastes and occupations 
found common interests and enthusiasms in a common world. 
Among those admitted within the charmed circle of Society 
were cultivated financiers, like Titus Pomponius Atticus, who 
took no part in public life, millionaires like Pompey and Crassus, 
whose ambitions were centred upon politics, scions of old 
aristocratic houses who had recovered their fortunes during 
the Revolution, such as Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus,* and 
young men of rich or well-to-do municipal families, who after 
having received a careful education at home, had come to 
Rome to lead a life of fashion or acquire fame in the law-courts 
or in a political or military career. Amongst these were 
Cicero, Varro and Caius Octavius, son of a rich money-lender 
from Velletri : ■{• well-known advocates like Hortensius, who 
made large fortunes by defending provincial governors against 
charges of extortion ; students like Valerius Cato and Cornelius 
Nepos ; courtezans from the East whose beauty had won 
them universal notoriety ; savants from Greece and Asia who 
had found a welcome in aU the great houses ; and Roman 
ladies of advanced opinions who took a serious interest in 
poHtics or dabbled in Greek and philosophy. The different 
members of this diverse and cosmopolitan society stimulated 
one another with their particular enthusiasms ; the student 
inspired the financier and the politician with a taste for culture ; 
the gourmet infected the writer and the business man with 
the delights of self-indulgence ; the financier interested the 
dilettante, the soldier and the statesman in the excitements, 
if not perhaps in all the detailed and doubtful operations, of 
investment and speculation. 
Versatmty and As all these various passions took fire from mutual contact, 
fashionable fashionable life gradually increased in profusion and complexity ; 
'''®" every one hastened to fit up a vUla in the country and in the 

watering-places, like Baise, which were now coming into favour ;t 
to keep up a large staff of slaves, each of whom had his parti- 
cular duties,§ valets, litter-carriers,^ and men to look after the 
lamps during the night,** besides musicians, ff secretaries,|J 

* Cic, in Verr. A., ii. 53, 139. J Driimann, G. R., iv. 229. 

X E.g. Com. Nep. Att., 14, 3, thinks it noteworthy that a man so 
rich as Atticus possessed " nullam suburbanam aut maritimam 
sumptuosam villain. See also Varro, R. R., i., 13, 6. 

§ Cic. in Pis., xxvii. 67. ^ CatuU., x. 16 fif. 

*• Val., Max., vi., 8, i ; Suet. Aug., 29. 
' ft Cic. in Verr. A., ii., 5, 25,64. 

jj Suet., Caes., 74.- 


librarians, copyists,* and even doctors ; f to have all that 77 b.c. 
he needed in daily life prepared in the house by his slaves, J 
except in the case of rare and costly objects which could The new 
only be procured from distant countries ; to exhibit a ^"'""'°*- 
good assortment of Greek works of art, tables from Delphi, 
vases from Corinth, cups, candelabra, statues, paintings, 
bronzes, and even a sculptured basin for the pond in his park. 
Many of the rich financiers and Senators now gave up the 
primitive and inconvenient houses in which they had grown 
up, and built themselves palaces rivaUing that of Lepidus 
in size and magnificence, full of adaptations from Graeco- 
Asiatic designs, with reception and drawing-rooms, a library, 
a palaestra, and even a bath-room with stucco ornamentation 
and wall paintings. § The habit of corresponding by letter 
began to be widespread ; through the desire for intercourse 
between friend and friend, and the impatience to find out 
what was happening in Rome or in the provinces, confidential 
slaves were frequently despatched into the most distant parts 
of the Empire. Invitations to dinner or to stay in the country 
became a usual form of entertainment, and a generous standard 
of hospitality came to be regarded as obligatory. Men no 
longer travelled with a small suite, but attended by a huge 
retinue of slaves. ^ Funerals became increasingly costly, and 
it became fashionable to erect huge family monuments upon the 
main roads of Italy,** to attract the attention of the passing 
public. With the changes in the prevailing style of jewellery 
and in the variety and the cost of the fashionable stuffs, -j-f- dress, 
too, became more distinctive and costly. The wealthy class 
in Rome and all over Italy began to conform to that conventional 
code of propriety by which the rich seem always destined, 
in the progress of civilisation, to become more and more en- 
slaved, till finally they lost all feeling for what is serious and 
genuine in life. The new generation followed their example with 
alacrity, and preached the new conventions with a passionate 
vehemence which must have been highly exasperating to those 
of their seniors who were still attached to the simplicity of 
primitive manners. Amongst those who protested against 
this development there was, however, one prominent figure of 

* Com. Nep., Att., xiii. 3 ; Cic, ad F., xiii. jy, 3. Marguardt, 
V. P. R., i. 177. t Suet., Caes., 4 ; Seneca De Ben., Ui. 24. 

J Cic. in Pis., xxvii. 67 » 

§ Schiller- Voigt, 394; Plin., N. H., xxxvi. 15, no; Friedlander, 
S. G. R., iii. 88. . I Suet., Caes.. 4 ; Plut., Cat. U., 12. 

•* SchiUer-Voigt, 396. ft ^^- 405- 


77 B.C. the younger age, Marcus Porcius Cato, a man of rich and 
noble family and a descendant of Cato the Censor. His 
puritan spirit revolted against the tyranny of fashion to 
which the golden youth of Rome wished to make him 
conform ; he would walk in the streets without shoes or 
tunic, to accustom himself, as he said, only to blush at things 
which were shameful in themselves, and not merely by con- 
The new intei- Side by side with this new standard of luxury, the needs 
men".*' °""'^' °^ ^^^ intellect began to claim closer attention. Amongst the 
upper classes of Italy we find widespread evidence of that burn- 
ing thirst for knowledge which is characteristic of all the really 
great epochs of history. A young man of distinguished family like 
Caesar could not complete his education without a stay of some 
years in Greece or in the East to attend a course of rhetoric, 
or the class of some well-known philosopher. Everyone learned 
to make speeches and to write in verse and prose, and there 
was a general desire for a wide and many-sided culture. Books 
were read upon all conceivable subjects, rhetoric, aesthetics, 
history, geography, agriculture, strategy, tactics, siege opera- 
tions, philosophy, medicine ; the encyclopaedia of Aristotle, 
which Sulla had brought to Italy, suddenly came into an 
immense vogue. j- It had been but Httle appreciated by the 
specialists of the last two centuries who had studied particular 
sciences like astronomy, mathematics and literary history in 
the restful solitudes of the big museums maintained by the 
Hellenistic sovereigns of the East ; but it found a large and 
ready public of admirers now that the educated classes in 
Italy were conscious of the responsibilities of a world-wide 
Empire. There was a large class of men whose occupations 
can only be described as encyclopaedic, who had been succes- 
sively soldiers, statesmen, orators, judges, financiers, organisers 
of festivals or public works, admirals, landlords or ambassadors, 
and who needed to have at their command, not this or that 
special science, but a vast fund of general information which 
would enable them to pick up with rapidity any subject they 
desired. Aristotle, the philosopher of imperial expansion, 
the master first of Alexander and later of the Arabs, presented 
the Empire-builders of Italy with a vast and well-arranged 
* Plut., Cat. U., 6. 

t Varro, R. R., ii., 5, 13, says that to read Aristotle was almost a 
proverbial expression, meaning to be learned in the Greek sciences. 
See Cic. De Or., ii., xxxvi., 152 ; iii., xlvii., 182. Porzio in R. S. A., 1899, 
p. 227. 


handbook of information, written in a plain and unadorned 77 b.c. 
style, and stored not only with facts, but with a sufficient 
supply of those general ideas which, however imperfect in them- 
selves, are yet indispensable to all who venture as pioneers 
into unknown regions, reminding them of the general 
direction in which they are moving 1 and preventing them 
from changing their line of march at the first serious obstacle 
or rebuff. 

AU this increase in luxury and expenditure among the upper The new 
classes was in itself an encouragement to the prevalent spirit g^|'y-'°*'^e 
of speculation. SuUa had indeed been able to re-establish 
the old Roman institutions ; but the sentiment of aristocracy 
soon succumbed to the temptations of the new era, and even 
members of the old historic nobility were ready to forget their 
old repugnance for business undertakings. Financiers and 
landlords, blue-blooded aristocrats and parvenu millionaires, 
began to break down the old barriers of caste and rank, and to 
merge into a single class of enterprising traders and financiers, 
under conditions in which the old poUtical antagonism between 
the knights and the Senate, the capitalist bourgeoisie and the 
ruling military aristocracy could not help becoming gradually 

At the same time a profound change was coming over the The changes 
whole social economy of Italy. During the preceding half and economy, 
century ItaUan capital had by preference been sent abroad, 
more especially to Asia, where it had helped to exploit the 
recently conquered provinces ; comparatively little had been 
invested in Italy upon agricultural purposes. Generally speak- 
ing, while the moderate landlords had in some cases endeavoured 
to effect improvements in cultivation, the large proprietors, 
who had taken over the lands of the impoverished small farmers, 
were too pre-occupied with increasing the acreage of their 
holdings to spend time and trouble over modernising their 
methods. They contented themselves with forming huge estates 
(latifundta) rudely cultivated by slaves, or with transforming 
the old yeomen into small farmers (coloni) who were contented 
to work on by the old superannuated processes. But now that 
the provinces, and particularly Asia, had been over-exploited 
by ItaHan financiers and ruined by a devastating war, they 
ceased to be so profitable a field for new investment, and 
capital began once more to flow back to the land. 

Thus it was that the wasted Italian countryside began to 
bjossoni once more into its old prosperity. The first signs of 

77 B.C. 

Slavery and 
the rural re- 

Vine and olive 


fresh vigour had been manifest half a century ago ; and another 
three or four generations were to pass before the whole miracu- 
lous transformation could be finally perfected. But it was 
during these few years, when a new life was pulsating through 
the cities of Italy that the spirit of enterprise and improvement 
burst the close confines of their walls and gave the decisive 
impulse to the rural revival.* It was the slave immigrants 
who were the chief agents in the reanimation of Italy. The 
great and moderate landlords continued to buy their field 
workers from abroad, but, with more capital at their disposal, 
displayed a care in their selection which would have been 
inexplicable to their fathers. Besides the ordinary human 
chattels purchased for hard manual labour and shut up at 
night in the fetid shelters or Ergastula, they took pains to 
acquire a certain number of highly skilled cultivators, who 
were less harshly treated and expected to amend the methods 
and increase the profits of cultivation.t 

It was upon the vine and the olive that their efforts were 
most naturally expended. The world market for wine at 
this time was Rhodes, while Greece, the Aegean Islands and 
Asia Minor were the great wine-growing countries, the Bur- 
gundy and Champagne of the ancient world, which exported 
the drink of the gods to regions where the grape did not grow, 
or where the wealthier classes had no taste for the rough wine 
of the country. But their supremacy was no longer to remain 
unchallenged. Amongst the hordes of Oriental prisoners 
whom SuUa sold into Italy, or whom the pirates and Italian 
tax-farmers and merchants kidnapped and bought in Asia 
and packed off westwards for home employers, there were 
many peasants who understood the cultivation of the vine 
and the olive and all the processes in the making of wine and 
oil. Financiers, who had grown rich on tax-farming or army 
contracts or provincial money-lending, landlords and aristocrats 
who had a little capital to dispose of, were quick to realise 
that they might wrest their old monopoly from Greece and 
Asia and meet the increasing consumption of the Italian 
market. They proceeded to invest largely in Oriental slaves 
and employ them as planters of vines and olives wherever 
the district was favourable,! choosing situations near the sea 
or the roads, such as many parts of Sicily§ and the neighbour- 

* Nissen, I. L., 458. 

t See Varro, R. R., i., 17, 4 and 5 ; ii. 10, 4. 

X Nissen, I. L., 439. § Varro, R. R., i. 2, 7. 


hood of Faenza* in the plain of Romagna. Greater care too 77 b.c. 
was expended upon the construction of farms, so that slaves 
could five and work there under healthier conditions.-)* 

Another new development in Italian country life was scientific Cattle breed- 
cattle-breeding. The Roman nobles of the previous generation '°^" 
had preferred to stake their money on nomadic prairie pasturage 
— a form of speculation dating back to the good old days of the 
Common Land, when the aristocracy paid Uttle attention to 
business enterprise. But now that the price of land, and with 
it the cost of living, was steadily rising all over Italy, they were 
learning perforce to perfect their methods of rearing, to choose 
for their chief shepherds slaves of a certain measure of inteUi- 
gence and knowledge, to study the breed of their animals, 
their intercrossing, their feeding, and their general health.^ 
Many landlords devoted themselves to raising stock outside 
Italy, in thinly populated and barbarous districts : Atticus, 
for instance, possessed enormous lands and huge herds in 
£pirus.§ Experiments were also made in Italy in the direction 
of the selective breeding of the horse and the donkey.^ Gover- 
nors and officials made use of journeys undertaken for military 
and administrative purposes, to observe plants, aninuls and 
herds, and the particular treatment each required, asking 
questions of the natives, and bringing home much useful 

A large number of Italians, too, even among the aristocracy, Various forms 
devoted themselves to financial speculation, endeavouring hy"^ * ""^ 
means of couriers and agents to lend money at high rates, 
especially in Asia, depositing capital for interest with bankers 
at Rome and Ephesus, and buying the debentures or shares 
{partes or particulae) of the syndicates of " publicans," who 
leased the public lands, the taxes and the military and civil 
contracts of the Empire."j"(- Others exploited workings of clay 
to manufacture bricks, and buUt houses in the capital which 
they let to the middle class or to the ever-growing swarms of 
the proletariat. Many speculations were made in Oriental 
slaves, who were skilful in those higher arts of production for 
which there was a steadily increasing demand. Others invested 

* Franchina, Le condizioni economiche delta Sicilia di tempi di 
Verre, Palermo, 1897. t Varro, R. R., i. 11, 15. 

X See all the second book of Varro, esp. u. 2, 7 fi. ; ii. 3, 8 fi. ; ii. 7, 16, 
ii. 10, 3 ; ii. 10, 10. 

§ Varro, R. R., ii. pref., 6 ; ii. 2, 20 ; Corn. Nap. Att., xiv. 3. 

f Varro, R. R., ii. 6, i. ** Varro, R. R., ii., pref. 6. 

tt Cic, Pro leg., Man., vi. 18 ; Val., Max., vi. 9, 7. 


77 B.C. their money in grammarians, doctors, architects, master-masons 
or stucco workers, letting them out to any one who had need 
of them, or setting them free on condition that they reserved 
for their old patrons a part of their professional earnings. 
The contagion The result of these many-sided activities may be stated very 
of imperialism, shortly. Rome like a great spider was sucking blood from the 
provinces. The Italian upper classes were engaged in weaving 
a vast web of financial interests to secure the treasure that 
they needed for their own growing demands. The middle class 
in the less important cities of Italy, less powerful but quite as 
greedy, hastened to ape their superiors. So did the class 
beneath them, the small farmers, the day labourers, the artizan 
immigrants from the East, the freedmen from all parts of the 
world, and all those who had been ruined by the Civil War. 
At Rome the rich were gradually infecting the whole com- 
munity with their passion for amusement and good feeding, 
increasing the magnificence of the festivals which candidates 
and magistrates gave to the people, and the sumptuousness 
of the pubhc banquets,* at which poor men learnt to appreciate 
the taste of good wine, as of thrushes, chickens, geese, and even 
peacocks.f In the small towns and in the country districts 
of Italy, the soldiers of Sulla had become living exponents of 
the vices and luxury of the East, of drunkenness and debauch- 
ery and the ostentation of riches. t Their example awoke 
slumbering instincts of adventure and commercial enterprise 
among the younger generation in the famihes of the smaller 
landlords and farmers. The poorer among them enlisted 
in the army, hoping to make a fortune in distant expeditions ; 
. others who had a little money, set themselves up in business ;§ 
whilst others again who had inherited a tiny farm or allotment, 
tried to imitate their wealthier neighbours by the purchase of 
a slave or two, reckoning they would only have to sow the seed 
necessary to feed themselves and their dependents, and to 
plant vines, olives and fruit trees and a few flowers for the bees, 
in order to sell a fine store of produce and live a life of ease 
and comfort.^ The increase of general expenditure among 
all classes gave a stimulus to the speculations of the rich capita- 
lists and nobles, several of whom even embarked upon retail 

* V. Cic. de Off., ii. 16, 57. 
t Varro, R. R., iii. 6, 6 ; iii. 5, 8 ; iii. 2, 16. 
{ Sail., Cat., II ; Cic. in Cat., ii. 9, 20. 
§ E.g. Ventidius Bassus, Aul. Gell., xv., 4. 

T E.g. the father of Virgil (Donatus, p. 54, 10). See- Varro, R. R. 
iii., 16, 10. , 


dealing, opening a shop in their palaces (like some of the 77 ^■^■ 
Florentine nobles a generation ago) and there selling the 
produce of their estates through an assistant, who was generally 
a slave or a freedman. 

Thus the survivors of the Civil War had wooed back the old '^''®. '?''"" jj^e 
prosperity of Italy. The mercantile spirit was even more wide- revival of pros- 
spread and infectious than in the previous generation. There p^''''^- 
was a general rise in wages and prices, and in the value of land. 
Italy was passing through one of those happy periods of affluence 
when opportunities of profit arise one out of another and seem 
to multiply on aU sides with progressive rapidity. Out of 
the depression and anarchy of the Revolution had emerged an 
era of plenty in which the competition of all the various elements 
in the community to acquire wealth, power and pleasure 
became even more breathless and exciting than in the preceding 
generation. The new Italian bourgeoisie composed of land- 
lords and merchants, cultivated gentlemen and ambitious 
politicians, which had been slowly consoUdating its power for 
the last half century, was becoming daily better fitted by 
wealth, capacity and education to contend with the hereditary 
republican aristocracy for the power and responsibilities of 
Empire. Meanwhile Caesar was living quietly at Rhodes, deep 
in the study of orators and philosophers. 

Note. — ^Many of the facts cited above as a proof of the beginning 
of this change in manners and social conditions belong to a consider- 
ably later period, but I have thought it justifiable to make use of 
them because I beUeve that the change which we find completed 
between 50 and 40 B.C. must have been begun between 80 and 70, at 
a period when the crisis of the revolution had been surmounted, and 
a new generation with new capacities was at hand to continue the 
work of its predecessors. 1 It may be added that Varro, in the valuable 
book upon agriculture from which I have quoted so frequently, is 
summing up the progress made during the whole of his generation. 


Change in political opinion — Extinction of revolutionary spirit 
in the middle class and strength of the patriotic and demo- 
cratic sentiment — Opposition to the Conservative party — ^The 
tribunes open the attack on Sulla's constitution — Death and 
will of the King of Bithynia ; the financial interests involved — 
Imminence of a war with Mithridates ; intrigues at Rome 
for the command — Lucius Licinius Lucullus — ^Precia, mistress 
of Cethegus ; " the new woman " — Unexpected invasion of 
Asia and Bithynia by Mithridates — ^The distribution of the 
Roman commands — Hurried departure of Lucullus for the 
East — Prudent strategy of Lucullus — Mithridates' march on 
Cyzicus — ^The double siege of Cyzicus — Destruction of Mith- 
ridates' army. 

Pouticai effects This great and rapid transformation of social life and conditions 
chlngM : entailed corresponding adjustments in the sphere of politics. 
It was inevitable from the first that Sulla's settlement should 
be merely temporary and provisional. As the old generation 
passed away from the scene, the classes and parties which had 
contended so violently but a few years before, laid aside their 
animosities and drew together almost unconsciously in a 
common mood of conciliation. The Italian middle class 
learnt to abate the revolutionary and anti-Roman enthusiasm 
which had involved their country in the miseries of the Social 
War and driven hundreds of their countrymen to join the 
army of Mithridates. The healing process of time and the 
general increase and diffusion of prosperity slowly appeased the 
agitation of a class which had long been devoted to Roman 
interests and was imbued with Italian patriotism and Italian 
good sense. As they planted their vines and olives, built farms 
and cottages, bought slaves out of their savings, or enlisted in 
the legions, the small landlords and labourers, the merchants and 
contractors all over Italy became the supporters, sometimes even 
the devoted partisans, of order and the established authority. 



They forgot the great services which the Revolution had 77 b.c, 
rendered to their cause ; they branded as traitors the many 
enthusiasts of the preceding generation whom distress and On the Italian 
persecution had driven to the banners of Mithridates ; they °"'i'"«-"='»"- 
abandoned Sertorius, the last surviving champion of the 
Marian party and the revolutionary movement. A few 
trifling successes over Sertorius were enough to wdn Pompey 
a lasting popularity in all parts of the peninsula. 

Meanwhile the rich classes and even the aristocracy itself On the ans- 
were gradually losing much of their reactionary fervour. The *<"''*'='• 
Social War, the reduction of debts, even Sulla's proscriptions 
were becoming dim and distant memories. Men began to 
be convinced that the talk of a coming revolution was mere 
idle chatter. They saw that the emancipation of Italy, a 
reform which was for some fifty years the bugbear of the 
Conservatives, had been carried through without any of 
the calamities predicted. Although the number of electors 
had been increased and was now almost 900,000, the small 
oligarchy of resident voters at Rome, whose opposition to an 
extended franchise had precipitated the whole crisis, found that 
it still remained, as before, the controUing force in the govern- 
ment of the Empire. As the elections could only be held 
at Rome, voters who lived in other parts of Italy were unable 
to undertake the long journey to the capital several times 
during the year ; until some reform was passed to aboUsh the 
present centralised system, they were practically debarred 
from using their privileges. But all agitation in this direction 
had been severely kept under during Sulla's reign of terror, 
and other interests very soon intervened to make the majority 
of the new voters quite indifferent to the exercise of the rights 
for which they had fought. A generation ago, the extension 
of the franchise had seemed a panacea for every evil, and all 
parties in turn had found in it a battle cry for rousing the public 
to pohtical enthusiasm. But now that opportunities of 
money-making had become so much more frequent, the middle 
class preferred to emigrate to the provinces, or, if they stayed 
in Itsly, to stick to their own proper business of growing rich. 
It seemed foolish to waste time over political conflicts in 
which the ordinary voter found it difiicult to remain constant 
to any definite aim, when it was within the reach of any member 
of the community, by attending to his private affairs, to rise 
high on the social ladder. Of all the privileges that Roman 
citizenship brought with it, the right to vote at elections was 

I I 

77 B.C. 

The Roman 

Sulla's work 


that by which most men set least store. They were content 
to leave the political offices in the gift or the sale of the small 
oUgarchy of residents ; in other words, in the control of the 
Roman upper classes. 

For in the capital the middle class, so predominant in the 
Italian country towns, was practically non-existent. The 
vast majority of the Roman electorate was composed of an 
indigent class, either free or freedmen, which made a precarious 
livelihood as a parasite upon the upper ranks of society, its 
members finding employment in the State services or contracts, 
or working as masons, weavers, waggoners, stone-cutters or 
gardeners, or living as clients or dependents of the wealthy 
houses. It was thus perfectly simple for the moneyed classes, 
provided only they remained united and homogeneous, to 
keep a firm hold over the needy proletariat of electors, and to 
secure the success of their own favoured candidates. A man 
of rich or noble family, who had connections with the aristocracy 
or with the world of finance, could thus almost make sure of 
being elected to office : the only opposition he need fear would 
be from rivals in his own class. So the extension of the franchise 
had only strengthened its old opponents. The old Roman 
oligarchy of Senators and knights, bound together by ties of 
friendship and very often of marriage, was left, in the growing 
indifference of the Italian middle class, practically un'disputed 
master of the great executive offices, and of the government 
of Italy and the Empire. 

The rulers soon discovered the new basis of their power, 
which Sulla, blinded by his jsassion against the revolutionaries, 
had been unable to descry. Its detection led to a very curious 
result. It made the whole elaborate buttress work of Sulla's 
constitutional structure seem artificial and even precarious 
as a safeguard of aristocracy. The younger members of the 
caste were quick to draw the inference. They argued that his 
settlement was neither secure nor efficient, and utterly unsuited 
to the needs of the age. Some of the older men, of course, 
saw matters very differently. In many of the great houses 
Sulla's reaction had provoked an outburst of exaggerated 
Conservative feeling; there was a section of the nobiUty 
which again tried to keep to itself, to avoid, so far as 
possible, all contact with their inferiors, and to behave and 
speak as if all the ItaUans were still in the position of 
humble dependnts. But circumstances were too strong for 
these childish eccentricities. As the proscriptions were slowly 


forgotten, clear-sighted observers were forced to admit that 77 b.c. 
the wealth of the knights was indispensable to the supremacy 
of the aristocracy. But the knights, whose powers had been The Knights 
curtailed and dignity wounded by Sulla and his partisans, fuuans. 
could not be expected to remain loyal to the existing regime; 
Yet they could sway the electorate, and some concession to 
their demands could not long be delayed. It was the same, 
in a lesser degree, as regards the Italian middle class. It 
might make small use of the franchise ; but it had earned in 
the Social War its good right to consideration. It was im- 
possible to behave as though the Revolution had never been. 
The public opinion of Italy was a force to be reckoned with ; 
it represented the homes from which the Government drew 
almost aU its common soldiers, its centurions and its subalterns. 
But the ItaUan middle class felt no respect for its rulers : the 
reverent awe of old days was a memory of the past. If it obeyed 
the law and was in no mood for revolution, its detestation of 
Sulla's settlement was sincere and implacable. 

The effect of these tendencies became increasingly appa- The Senatorial 
rent during the time when Caesar was studying at Rhodes. '■^'='"''*- 
The ruling cabal, exclusive, helpless and corrupt, with a brutal 
and sinister record behind it, was becoming detested throughout 
the whole length of Italy. Even among its own nominal 
supporters disaffection was widespread. The abominable be- 
haviour of the provincial governors, the corruption of the 
senatorial tribunals, the odious intrigues for legationes libera* 
excited general disgust. Moreover there had been a wearisome 
succession of blunders and panics, intrigues and scandals, to 
exasperate an already restless pubHc. The most vital interests 
were shamefully neglected ; Mithridates was allowed time 
quietly to mature his revenge ; the pirates continued to 
captuxe Roman citizens on the high seas. In Spain Sertorius 
advanced from triumph to triumph. The Senators who had 
not been able to prevent Pompey from taking command, 
indignant at the promotion of so young a rival, did their best 
to make his enterprise a failure by refusing to vote the neces- 
sary funds, and Pompey had himself to advance the sums 
necessary for his soldiers and equipment.^ Italy, young, lusty 
and self-confident, was clamouring for conquests ; but her 

* The name given to a privilege sometimes granted by the Senate 
to one of its members allowing him to travel gratis, even upon private 
affairs, and obtain free lodgings and means of transport in the provinces 
for himself and his suite. 

■f Plut., Pomp;, 20. 


76-5 B.C. drowsy rulers had mistaken her mood. It was now some years 
since Rome had displayed any signs of real energy on her 
Foreign policy frontiers. There had been a petty expedition under Appius 
of the Cabal, ciaudius, Pro-Consul of Macedonia, into Thrace, and another 
small campaign against the Dardani under Caius Scribonius 
Curio, who had advanced as far north as the Danube. There 
had also been a small war in Dalmatia which had ended in the 
capture of Salona. But this exhausted the record of senatorial 
achievements. Amid the inertia of his successors the exploits 
of SuUa were forgotten and even the nobility harked back 
to the memories of his rival. Marius no doubt had tampered 
with revolution, but at least he had given Rome a new Army 
and led a loyal democracy to victory over the invader.* Men 
were more and more disgusted with the provincial exactions of 
the ruling clique, and the undisguised venality which reigned 
supreme in the Senate and the tribunals. They looked back 
with longing on the free speech of former days ; they forgave 
the blunders of the old popular champions, and remembered 
only how they had caused evil-doers in office to tremble at 
their invective.t Year after year some violent tribune, Lucius 
Licinius in "jS, Quintus Opimius in 75, each bolder than the 
last, incited the people against the SuHan Constitution and the 
aristocratic tribunals.! At last, in 75, the Consul, Caius Aurehus 
Cotta, uncle of Caesar, won the first success in the new struggle 
by abolishing Sulla's provision that a Tribune of the people 
should be ineligible for any other office.§ 
The BithjDian The results of this movement were to be most strikingly 
*'"°^ ■ exhibited' in the field of foreign policy ; the decisive change 

took place during the years when Ceesar was still at Rhodes. 
Towards the end of the year 75 or the beginning of the next,|| 
King Nicomedes of Bithynia died bequeathing his kingdom 
and all that was in it to the Roman State. Bithynia was the 
buffer-State between Rome and Pontus, and perhaps the 
malign old Oriental felt a grim satisfaction at the storm he 
must have known would rage around his tomb. This was the 
second bequest within quite a short time which had fallen 
to the Senate ; but Bithynia was less easily dealt with 
than Egypt, for its acceptance was certain to involve war with 
Mithridates. The King of Pontus could not permit a Roman 

* Nap., iii., J. C. i., 282 ; see Dion. Cass., xxxvi; 32 (speech of Catulus) 
and Cic, in Verr., A. ii. iii. 35, 81 ; pro Rab., Perdj x, 29. 
t Cic. Verr. A.I. xv. 44 ; Id. Pro Cluentio, xxviii, yj. 
X Lange, R. A., iii; 175. § Drumann, G. R., iv. 385. 

II See Appendix B. 


occupation of Bithynia without endangering his prestige among 75 b.c. 
the Eastern nations. After the timidity and indifference it 
had recently displayed regarding Egypt, the Senate was at 
a loss how to act. Its first inclination apparently was to refuse 
the legacy ; but public opinion soon interfered to forbid it. 
Already in the reign of the late king, Roman financiers had 
begun to find their way into Bithynia and knew something 
of its resources.* Nicomedes had owned a vast domain of 
Crown lands with mines and fisheries of very considerable value 
which annexation would put at the disposal of Itahan capitalists, 
whUe considerable profits might also be expected from the 
taxes of the rich Greek cities on the coast.t With this tempt- 
ing bait within reach Rome's destiny of conquest seemed 
too manifest to be evaded. A patriotic agitation of the 
familiar sort was set on foot. War with Mithridates was in 
any case only a question of yearsj and no good Roman could be 
in two minds about avenging Dardanus. The Senate was finally 
compelled to annex Bithynia and to declare the son of Nico- 
medes illegitimate. A syndicate was immediately formed 
at Rome to administer the possessions of the Bithynian crown,§ 
and disputes arose over the command of a war which seemed 
likely to be rich in profit and glory. 

One of the Consuls for the year happened to be a certain Lncuiius. 
Lucius Licinius LucuUus, member of a family which could lay 
claim both to fame and notoriety. His father was suspected 
of foul play during the SiciHan slave revolt of 102 and his 
mother, the sister of Metellus Numidicus, had been accused 
of infidehty. His grandfather had been mixed up during his 
Consulship in a robbery of statues, while his great-grandfather 
had been indicted when ^dile for concocting a false accusa- 
tion. II The record is so sinister that its veracity may be 
questioned. It is indeed not impossible that the charges 
have been invented or at least magnified by the embitterment 
of feeling during the revolutionary era. It is certain, at any 
rate, that the family^ despite its nobility, was poor, and that 
Lucius, like his younger brother Marcus, though he received 
a very careful literary education, grew up in modest surround- 
ings and with simple habits, imbued from boyhood with all 
the pride of his caste and with the Conservative principles of 

* Suet., Caes., 49. t '^ic., De Leg. Agr., 2, xv. 40; 2, xix. 50. 

t Hut., Luc, 5. 

§ Cic, De Leg. Agr., 2, xix; 50 Cicero probably alludes to it again 
in ad. F. xiii." 9. |{ Drumann, G. R., iv. 119, 120. 


75 B.C. the old Roman nobility. During his youth he had taken some 
part in the terrible class conflicts which preceded the revolu- 
tion ; though in matters of the intellect a passionate Hellenist, 
he took his stand in politics, with aU the better elements of 
the poorer nobility, on the side of Rutilius Rufus and the 
party opposed to aU the new social forces, whether democratic 
or capitalist. He had married a wife who brought him no 
dowry, though a member of a very aristocratic family: 
Clodia, daughter of Appius Claudius, Consul in 79, Praetor 
after the Civil War in 77, who in "](> had obtained the 
government of Africa, coming home with a reputation for 
upright administration.* Able, resolute and energetic, he had 
been, as we have seen, one of the few members of the aristo- 
cracy who took part in the Civil War. He had distinguished 
himself as one of Sulla's lieutenants in his Eastern campaigns, 
fought recklessly against the revolutionaries, and yet, despite 
his poverty, took no part in the wholesale plundering of the 
vanquished. LucuUus, in short, was one of the few who, 
in a world of unscrupulous adventurers, represented with 
sincerity and conviction the one respectable element in^^SuUa's 
government, the primitive and genuine aristocratic tradi- 
tion which had been brought back to power with such dis- 
appointing results. Ambitious, intelligent and honest, though 
sometimes over-arrogant and passionate, quick to take action, 
but little gifted with subtlety and with no experience of 
dissimulation and intrigue, he had hitherto been unswerving 
in his devotion to the principles of Rutilius Rufus. He 
had offered a vigorous opposition to all attempts made to 
overturn the Constitution of SuUa, yet at the same time 
without showing the least consideration or indulgence towards 
the baser' elements of the ruling regime, the vicious and needy 
aristocracy and their parasites. He had had several violent 
altercations with Lucius Quintius, tribune of the people in 
75, and with the notorious Publius Cethegus, one of the most 
prominent agents of the existing cabal, who had originally 
deserted from the party of Marius to enrich hinoself over the 
proscriptions, and was now like many another influential 
scoundrel under similar regimes, universally detested in secret, 
but treated by the aristocracy on all public occasions with a 
respect not unmingled with awe.f By this old fashioned and 
uncompromising attitude Lucullus had not unnaturally 

* Driimann, G. R., iv. 123, 124. 

t ;Plut., Luc, s ; see Driimann, G. R,, 2, 557. 


attracted to himself the impartial hostility of all parties in the 75 b.c. 

When the question of a war with Mithridates came up for The oucian 
discussion Lucullus considered that there was no one more '*'=""='• 
entitled than himself to the command. He had already once 
conducted operations against Mithridates under SuUa, and was 
completely conversant with Eastern affairs. Unfortunately 
the Consular provinces had already been distributed and the 
lot had designed him for Cisalpine Gaul. Moreover, there 
were numerous candidates for the command. Besides his own 
colleague Cotta, there was Marcus Antonius, son of the great 
orator, who had been Prxtor in the preceding year ; and possibly 
also Pompey, who was stiU in Spain but, indignant at the 
dilatory support of the Senate, was threatening to return 
to the capital with his legions.* At this opportune moment 
news arrived of the death of Lucius Octavius, Governor of 
Cilicia. Lucullus at once conceived the idea of exchanging 
Gaul for CUicia ; for the Governor of Cilicia would certainly 
be entrusted with the duty of invading Pontus through Cappa- 
docia,t and nobody at Rome doubted that it would be easy 
to carry the war triumphantly into the enemy's country. 
But the redistribution of the provinces was by no means easy 
to manage. LucuUus had far more enemies than friends in 
influential circles, and excitement was running high at Rome 
over the command. There was a general feeling that this 
campaign would mark the end of the old timid and negative 
policy, and there was a host of competitors ambitious for its 

Lucullus realised that the moment was decisive for his Tte New 
future, perhaps also for that of his party, and resolved for once Rome, 
to let ambition take precedence over prejudice. To the 
amazement of fashionable circles he began to intrigue in his 
own interest writh a keenness and subtlety for which no one 
would have given him credit. Throughout Italian society 
the women had been far more Conservative than the men in 
maintaining the customs and feelings of older generations. 
In many of the noble houses there were stiU Roman matrons, 
like the mother of Caesar, who lived in a primitive and old- 
world simplicity, even preferring to keep up the old-fashioned 
pronunciation of Latin, which had long ago become clipped 
and vulgarised by the cosmopolitan chatter of the tavern and 
the market place. But the all-pervading influences in Italian 
* Plut., Pomp., 20. t Pl"t-, Luc, 6. 


75 B.C. society were beginning to leave their mark even upon the 
women. The perversions which are introduced into the 
feminine world by a rich and mercantile civilisation and the 
culture and pleasures which accompany it, were no longer a 
novelty in Roman houses. They brought with them all the 
f amihar corruptions — the shameless venaHty of fashionable ladies 
who rely for their expenditure upon the attentions of their ad- 
mirers ; the ascendancy of skilful and depraved intriguers over 
victims enervated by self-indulgence and sensitive to all the arts 
and witchery of seduction; the open rivalry between young 
competitors for dowries; the tyranny of rich wives over im- 
pecunious husbands ; the tendency of women to live the same 
life as men, to study and to speculate, to ride and to play, and 
even to dabble with delight in the muddy waters of poHtics. 
Amongst the prominent representatives of the " new women " 
at Rome at this time was a certain Precia, a clever specimen 
of her class, who, thanks to a number of illustrious lovers and 
above all to the notorious Cethegus, was in a position to dispose 
of extensive influence. This was the woman whom LucuUus 
selected to be his instrument. He condescended to compete 
with Antonius and probably a good many others for her kind- 
ness, seconding his appeals with the substantial comphments 
of the day. He even made his peace with his old enemy Quintius 
and bought his favour at a considerable price.* Precia deigned 
to be moved by these assiduous attentions from the proudest 
of Roman aristocrats, and undertook to promote a reconcilia- 
tion between Cethegus and LucuUus. The rest was easy. 
Mithridates Fortune came to the assistance of the fair intriguer and her 

and Sertonus. admij-grs. Mithridates had already for some time been prepar- 
ing for a new attack upon Rome. He had accumulated huge 
supplies of money, and won the support of the barbarians 
of Thrace and the Greek cities in the north-west of the Black 
Sea, including Apollonia, Odessus and Tomi. Moreover, 
through the intervention of Lucius Fannius and Lucius Magius, 
two ex-officers of Fimbria, who had taken refuge at his court 
after the murder of their general, he had actually concluded 
an aUiance with Sertorius ; the stipulations were that Asia 
was to remain Roman, while Bithynia, Paphlagonia and Cap- 
padocia were to go to Mithridates, who was to furnish Sertorius 
with 4,000 talents and forty ships, in return for the services 
of a Roman general, Marcus Marius.f But the death and 
testament of Nicomedes forced the King's hand, and drove 
* Plut., Luc, 6. •]• Plut., Sert., 23-24. 


him. to premature and precipitate action. In the spring of 74 b.c. 
74,* while the metropolis was still quietly discussing who 
should take command in the far-away Eastern campaign, 
Mithridates surprised his enemies by taking the field with an 
army of 120,000 men and 16,000 cavalry .f 

He despatched part of his forces under Taxiles and Hermo- The invasion 
crates to invade Bithynia, where they drove a swarm of Italian °' ^^'^ 
concession hunters and traders before them to take refuge 
in Chalcedon. At the head of the rest of his army he marched 
into the Roman province of Asia, no longer, as on the preceding 
occasion, as an Oriental conqueror, but as the ally of tlie Roman 
Sertorius. Every town on occupation was solemnly liberated 
by Marcus Marius, acting as pro-Consul, in the name of Ser- 
torius, and exempted from the payment of part of its taxes. J 
Finally, in the hope of exciting a general revolt, he sent out 
small flying columns of cavalry under the orders of Eumachus,§ 
Fannius and Metrophanes, || in different directions across 
great Phrygia into Cilicia and to the recently subjugated 
Isaurians of Mount Taurus.^ The significance of this strategy 
is unmistakable. Mithridates was returning to his old policy 
of raising up against Rome a great democratic and proletarian 
revolution. If his success was not so striking as on the former 
occasion it was still at first very considerable. In Asia several 
towns on the Sea of Marmora, including Parium, Lampsacus 
and Priapus, surrendered to Marcus Marius. In Bithynia all 
the towns, aghast at the sudden inrush of grasping traders 
from Italy, declared for Mithridates, with the single exception 
of Chalcedon, which was probably only prevented from doing 
so by the exertions of the resident Roman population. The 
fear of a new proletarian revolution spread far and wide through 
Asia. It was an ominous situation. The only troops in the 
province were the two old legions of Fimbria under the orders 
of a simple pro-Praetor, while the two legions in Cilicia had 
been left without a leader by the death of their pro-Consul. 
The towns which remained loyal hastily improvised defences, 

* For the chronology of the war, see Appendix B. 

t Reinach, M. E., 322. J Plut., Sert., 24. 

§ App., Mithr., 75. || Oros, vi. 2, 16. 

% That these must have been small detachments of cavalry,' and 
not a large force (as Reinach, M. E., 328, asserts of the troops under 
Eumachus), is clear from Oros, vi. 2, 16. Small cavalry columns 
would be far more useful than a large army for the particular mission 
entrusted to these commanders, which was to excite the population 
to revolt by passing rapidly through large districts defended by small 
garrisons, or entirely denuded of troops. 


74 B.C. and Caesar, his military ambitions rekindled by the outbreak 
of hostilities, interrupted his studies in oratory, hurried from 
Rhodes to the continent, and formed a small militia to check 
the rebellion in the towns of Caria.* His behaviour was less 
important for what it achieved than for what it signified. It 
showed that he had definitely broken with Sertorius and the 
survivors of his uncle's party, and regarded himself as a true 
ConstitutionaUst — an adversary of the revolutionary and anti- 
Roman programme, and a partisan of the new policy the 
primary object of which was to increase the prestige of Rome. 
The distribu- This unexpected invasion caused all the more alarm because 
mlnds.*^"" of the painful memories it re-awakened in Italy. The Govern- 
ment at once threw off all hesitation and prepared to act with 
promptitude and vigour. Every one believed the danger to 
be as great now as it had been in 88 ; and it was at once felt 
that it was impossible to leave Asia at such a moment to a 
pro-Prsetor with two legions, or to allow Cilicia to be without 
a Governor till the following year. LucuUus, who had won his 
spurs in the previous war, was universally considered the man 
for the post. Thus Precia was able to carry through her 
contemplated arrangements to the satisfaction of aU parties. 
Pompey was given funds to continue his operations against 
Sertorius ; Antonius was made admiral of the fleet with a 
command over the whole coastline and the special duty of 
tracking the pirates to their Cretan stronghold; Cotta was 
ordered to defend Bithynia and the Sea of Marmora ; whilst 
Lucullus was made pro-Consul of Cilicia, and entrusted with 
the task of driving Mithridates out of Asia, with the two legions 
of Asia and a legion of conscripts recruited in Italy .f This 
was a great success in the sphere of drawing-room diplomacy ; 
but incidentally it involved a serious mUitary blunder, dividing 
the operations of the campaign between three generals, without 
giving any one of them the supreme command. %^ i-\ 
The revolution The danger was pressing and the two Consuls ' hastened 
™,==.c — their departure ; it was probably about the end of spring, or 
the beginning of summer, when they left Rome. Lucullus 
sailed to Asia with his legions of conscripts ; Cotta first 
collected a fleet from among the allies and then proceeded 
to Chalcedon, which was stiU in the hands of the Romans, 
intending to use it as his base of operations for the re-conquest 
of Bithynia. Lucullus found the situation in the province 

* Suet., Caes., 4. 

t Cic. Pro^Murena, xv. 33 ; Memnon, 37 ; Plut., Luc, 6. 

misses fire. 


less critical than had been thought in Italy, perhaps even 74 b.c. 
more favourable than his own experience had led him to suppose. 
In spite of the suddenness of its outbreak, the revolution had 
not spread so quickly as on the previous occasion. The wealthy 
classes were not entirely unprepared for it, while among the 
common people the revolution of 88, with its miserable ie- 
noiiement, was still a lively warning against disorder. None of the 
great cities had joined the revolt, and the large sea-port towns, 
notably Cyzicus, were prepared to fight to the death against 
the patron of the social revolution and the ally of the pirates. 
Moreover, Mithridates had been detained in the interior by 
the slow progress of the rebellion, and he did not now venture 
to advance very far into the province. It was therefore easy for 
LucuUus to bring up the two legions from Cilicia, to re-estab- 
lish disciphne in the old army of Fimbria, and to do something 
to alleviate the economic depression in the towns of Asia, while 
he continued to make arrangements for his impending campaign. 

He was engaged in these measures of preparation, when a The battle of 
serious disaster occurred in the North. It seems that Mithri- "' ""' 
dates, having ascertained the destination of Cotta's fleet, 
hastily left the army of Asia, joined that of Bithynia, and 
led it to the attack of Chalcedon. Chalcedon was situated 
on the Bosphorus, opposite Byzantium, and the Roman 
fleet had been stationed in its harbour to intercept the 
Pontic ships carrying corn for the troops from the Black Sea 
into the Sea of Marmora. It is easy to imagine the panic 
in Chalcedon when Mithridates took up his station outside 
the town. The rich financiers who had fled there for refuge 
and were impatient to return to their business, fell upon the 
unfortunate Cotta with entreaties to march out boldly against 
Mithridates and strike a signal blow for the Hberation of 
Bithynia. Cotta reluctantly yielded to civihan advice. After 
a battle which ended in a grave land defeat and in the loss of 
his entire fleet,* he was forced to shut himself up wdthin the 
walls of the city. 

So signal a reverse at the very commencement of the campaign Lucniius 
had at least the merit of establishing unity in the chief com- dates. ' "' 
mand. Lucullus, who had by now advanced with 30,000 men 
and 2500 cavalryt as far as the Sangarius, assumed the chief 

* This is almost all that can be said about the battle of Chalcedon. 
The texts are fragmentary and discordant. Cf. App., Mith., 71 : Plut., 
Luc, 8 ; Oros, vi. 2, 13. See Reinach, M. E., 323. 

t The figures given by Plut., Luc. 8 ; App., Mith., 72, says 1600 


74 B.C. command of the entire operations on the Asiatic Continent. 
He refused to be dismayed at the news of the disaster. Turning 
a deaf ear to those who counselled the immediate invasion 
of Pontus, he continued his march against the Pontic 
army operating in Asia, to which Mithridates had no doubt 
returned after his victory at Chalcedon. But he realised the 
decisive importance with which the impending battle was 
now invested, and acted with the prudence of a con- 
summate general. When his army approached Mithridates 
he sought first of all to obtain exact information as to the 
forces of the enemy. Finding them in a considerable supe- 
riority he decided not to stake all upon a single fight. He 
therefore bought up all the available supplies, loaded them 
up on his baggage-animals, and began to follow obstinately 
on the heels of Mithridates without ever accepting battle, 
retiring every evening into his camp, and using his cavalry to 
hamper the enemy in replenishing his supplies.* 
Mithridates Mithridates had only been partially successful in organising 

Cy2U:us. ^^ army on the Roman model. In spite of the efforts of the 

numerous ItaHans whom he had taken into his service, he had 
been compelled once more to take the field with a large and 
unwieldy force, which it was difficult adequately to provision. 
His perplexities were increased at every step of his advance 
into Asia, as he drew further away from the Pontic harbours on 
the Black Sea to which his ships conveyed corn from the Crimea. 
The port of Lampsacus probably gave him but slight assist- 
ance, and the convoys which came by land moved so 
slowly and arrived so irregularly that the army often remained 
without bread for three or four days at a time.f LucuUus was 
soon enabled so to harass the enemy by attacks upon his already 
precarious communications, that Mithridates was faced with, 
the necessity of retreating towards his base of supplies in the 
Pontic coast towns on the Black Sea. But to abandon the 
Roman province and all hope of a general rising, and to confine 
himself to defensive action in his own country, would be a 
disastrous confession of failure. Unwilling to acquiesce without 
a struggle, the proud monarch threw himself once more upon 
fortune, and attempted a manoeuvre of characteristic daring. 
His plan involved nothing less than the seizure of Cyzicus, the 
most important harbour on the Sea of Marmora, the revival 
of the revolutionary movement in Asia, and the vigorous 
resumption of military operations in that province against 
* Plut., Luc, 8. t Pint-. Luc, 8 ; App., Mith., 72. 


LucuUus, with Cyzicus as a base for the landing of supplies 74 b.c. 
from Pontus. One evening he suddenly broke up his camp, 
moved off in silence, undetected by the army of LucuUus, and 
arrived at dawn, after a forced march, within sight of Cyzicus.* 

He at once attempted a surprise attack. On its repulse he The double 
laid siege to the town by land and by sea. LucuUus had, of cylfras. 
course, foUowed close on his heels, and Mithridates might have 
seized his long sought opportunity of giving battle to the 
Romans. But he did not dare to use against them the troops 
he needed to press the blockade, and was thus compeUed to 
let himself be surrounded in his turn within a vast Une of siege 
works and trenches without ever engaging in a regular engage- 
ment. He stUl hoped that he would ultimately be able to 
capture the city, and reckoned that he could keep open his 
communications by sea even if the Romans were to close them 
by land. A long and obstinate double siege ensued, during 
which the fortunes of war depended on the resistance of the 
Cyzicenes. If the town had capitulated, Mithridates would 
have commanded an exceUent base of operations and could 
easUy have driven LucuUus out of Asia. If on the other 
hand it held out, Mithridates might eventuaUy find himself 
in terrible straits, enclosed between the besieged and LucuUus. 
LucuUus succeeded in reviving the courage of the Cyzicenes 
by giving them news of his presence. The siege dragged slowly 
on through the year. Mithridates remained obstinately on 
the defensive and aUowed himself to be surprised by the coming 
of winter. Month by month his situation grew more difficult. 
Storms interfered with his suppUes, and bread and forage began 
to run low. The unburied corpses of men and animals 
poisoned the air, and a horrible epidemic broke out in the 
trenches.f But Mithridates, whose subordinates did not dare 
to undeceive him, closed his eyes to reaUties, and persisted in 
his determination to capture the city, even when his soldiers 
were being reduced to eating their faUen comrades. But at 
last even he was forced to recognise the truth. He decided to 
attempt a retreat by misleading the enemy. Directing the 

* These events axe well told by Plutarch (Luc, 8, 9), whose account 
is probably taken from Sallust. Appian (Mith., 72-73), is more con- 
fused. The march upon Cyzicus was risky, but it hardly deserves 
the criticisms many historians have brought against it. Short of 
retiring altogether, there was nothing else for Mithridates to do. His 
situation gives the key to the attempt, which is further explained 
in App., Mith., 73, and Cic, Pro Murena, xv: 33. 

t Plut., Luc, 9-10 ; App.', Mith., 73-5 ; Florus, iii. 5 ; Eutropius, 
vi. 6. 


73 B.C. cavalry and baggage animals to move eastwards towards 
Bithynia, he himself took the coast road, and led his army 
Break-up of westwards towards Lampsacus, where he hoped to form a 
Mithridates- junction with the fleet. It was a weU-devised stratagem. 
LucuUus was enticed to march his army across the snow- 
covered plains in pursuit of the Pontic cavalry, which retired 
slowly before him. He caught up the baggage train at the 
passage of the Rindacus and cut it in pieces with enormous 
slaughter, taking 15,000 prisoners, 9,000 horses, a great number 
of beasts of burden and huge masses of booty. Then suddenly 
discovering that the greater part of the army must have fled 
in another direction, he turned as rapidly back.* Fortune came 
to his aid. Heavy rains had brought the army of Mithridates 
to a halt at the banks of the Edepus. Here it was overtaken 
and cut to pieces by Lucullus. Only a few stragglers succeeded 
in following their king to Lampsacus, where they were hastily 
embarked for home.f Thus Bithynia was reduced and Chalce- 
don reUeved in the early months of 73 : and the first round of 
the struggle ended in a brilHant victory for the small but active 
and well-disciplined army of Rome over the numerous and 
unwieldy forces which Mithridates had in vain attempted to 
train on the Roman model. The loyalty or vacillation of the 
people of Asia and their refusal to listen to the propaganda of 
Mithridates I had also been decisive factors in LucuUus' favour. 
Asia was henceforward reckoned to be an integral part of the 
Roman Empire. 

* Plut., Luc, II. 

•f As a matter of fact, Plutarch (Luc, 11) records these two retreats 
as attempted separately, with a certain interval of time between, as 
though they were in no way connected together. He is followed by 
Mommsen, R. G., iii. 59. If so, when Mithridates sent away 
his cavalry he was not yet thinking of retreat, in spite of Plutarch's 
statement to the contrary, but was only anxious to make more room 
in his camp ; it was only later that he decided to raise the siege, not, 
as Plut. says, in consequence of the carnage at the Rindacus, but 
because his own situation was no longer tenable. In any case, the 
real flight was that westward towards Lampsacus, which is the only 
one mentioned by Appian (Mith., 76.) 



Caesar's return to Rome — State of public opiniou — Revolt of 
Spartacus — Naval operations of Mithridates — Growing dis- 
content with the Government — Caesar enters political life — A 
Roman politician's day — Lucullns overruns Bithynia, and 
decides to invade Pontus — Character of Lucullus — Slave raiding 
in the plains of Pontus — End of the war against Sertorius — 
Victories of Spartacus — -The scandal of the elections of 71 — 
Marcus Licinius Crassus ; his career and character — Directs 
the war against Spartacus and is victorious — Lucullus and his 
officers and soldiers — Capture and burning of Amisus. 

Meanwhile, in the course of the year 73, Caesar had returned Casar returns 
to Rome. We do not know the upshot of his small expedition '" °'°^' 
against Mithridates, but it is likely enough that when his fears 
of a general revolution proved groundless, he disbanded his 
small force soon after the arrival of Lucullus in Asia. He 
returned to Rome shortly afterwards on the news that he had 
been elected Pontifex in the place of his uncle Caius AureUus 
Cotta, who had lately died in Gaul. 

CsEsar must have found the situation at home very different Change in the 
from what it had been on his return from his earUer journey, ter. " '^ *"' 
Much had happened in Italy during his absence ; but the altera- 
tion he probably noticed most of all was in the character of 
his feUow countrymen. Here the change had indeed been 
both rapid and far-reaching. The action and interaction 
of a number of causes — the increase of prosperity, the diffusion 
of culture, the rise in the standard of comfort and luxury, the 
intermingling of the races in different parts of the Peninsula — 
in a word, the general progress of what we caU civiHsation had 
now finally completed a transformation in the Italian char- 
acter which had been preparing for at least a century. In 
the old days, Italy had been a nation of peasants with few 
needs and as few ideas : the typical Italian qualities had been 


73 B.C. patience, doggedness, and a certain impenetrable toug&ness 
of fibre. But of late years the Italian had become nervous 
excitable and unbalanced. He seemed continually to be 
oscillating between the opposite poles of character — between 
an egoism brutalised by sensuality and a moral sensibility 
sharpened by education and refinement, between wild and 
spasmodic outbursts of pride and cruelty, and the lingering 
influences of patriotism, piety and justice, to which he was 
acutely and morbidly responsive whenever personal pleasures 
and ambitions remained unaffected. It was a condition with 
which the modern world is painfully familiar. Italy was living 
through the fever of moral disintegration and incoherence 
which assails all civilised societies that are rich in the mani- 
fold resources of culture and enjoyment, but tolerate few 
or no restraints upon the feverish struggle of contending 
Measures _ The change, which was felt throughout the peninsula, was 
at Rome.*""* of course more particularly noticeable in the metropolis, 
where it stirred up new bitterness against Senatorial ineffi- 
ciency. The people of Rome had one especial reason for 
discontent in the increasing frequency of famines ; that of 
the year 75 had been particularly severe.* It must be remem- 
bered that while the population of the city was steadily on the 
increase, wheat was steadily being replaced by the vine and the 
olive in all parts of Italy, and scarcely enough was now pro- 
duced to satisfy the needs of the country classes. The 
problem of supplying the metropolis thus became more diffi- 
cult every year. The complaints brought against the negli- 
gence of the government were so loud and numerous that the 
two Consuls of that year, Caius Cassius Longinus and Marcus 
Terentius Licinianus Varro, the younger brother of Lucullus 
and adopted son of Marcus Terentius Varro, though Conserva- 
tives in politics, proposed a law to increase the tribute of corn 
supplied by the Sicilians. The towns which were already 
subject to a tribute of one-tenth were to furnish another 
tenth, which was to be bought from them at the rate of 3 
sesterces a bushel, while the towns exempt from the 
tribute were to send to Rome nearly 200,000 bushels 
of corn, which were to be paid for at the rate of 3J 
sesterces a bushel.f Thus what with corn given gratuitously 
and corn supplied at a fancy price, Sicily would be sending 

* Cic. Pro Plane. 26, 64. 

t Cic. in Verr., A., ii. 3, 70, 163. 


over every year about 1,650,000 bushels,* enough even to 73 b.c. 
satisfy the grumbling proletariat of Rome. 

But far more serious anxieties were in store for the Rising of Spar- 
Government. A band of slaves, runaways from a school of '""^ 
gladiators at Capua, had developed, under the leadership 
of a Thracian called Spartacus, into a small but formidable 
army, which had attacked and defeated several legions hastily 
despatched to disperse it. As an exceedingly large number 
of slaves had recently been imported into the country and 
Italians had not yet learned the secret of discipline, aU the 
bolder and more violent spirits began to escape from their 
masters and join the standard of Spartacus. For a moment 
Italy seemed face to face vyith the prospect of a huge slave 

There were other losses too to set off against the triumphs Naval opera- 
of Lucullus. Marcus Antonius had utterly failed in his pro- dafes.""^' 
jected enterprise against Crete, and had finally, after some 
desultory ravaging in Sicily, suffered a complete defeat at the 
hands of the pirates. t Great therefore, was the consternation 
when a short time afterwards news reached Rome that Mithri- 
dates, defeated by land, was vigorously re-opening operations 
by sea with the help of his old friends and allies among the 
States and tribes of Thrace. J While Lucullus' two subordin- 
ates, Caius Valerius Triarius and Barba, were marching against 
the towns in Bithynia which were still holding out against 
Rome, Mithridates had devastated the coasts of the Sea of 
Marmora, besieged Perinthus, threatened Byzantium and sent 
a part of his fleet into the .^Egean under the orders of 
Marius, to join hands with the pirates of Crete and Spain. 

This was very serious news. The jEgean fleet might very strentthening 
well be directed against Italy, and the coastline, it was recol- command!* 
lected, was entirely undefended. § Furious reproaches were 
brought against the Senate and the magistrates for their criminal 
neglect of the public interest. The Senate took hurried steps 
to meet the situation. It decided that the Consul Marcus 
Lucullus should be sent to Thrace next year as pro-Consul 
with a large army to crush the allies of Mithridates in those 
districts. II It allowed his brother Lucius 3,000 talents for 
the construction of a fleet — as if a fleet could be turned out in 
a night and a day — prolonging his command by a year, and 

* Ciccotti, P. v., 63. t Driimann, G. R., i2, 45. 

t Bernhardt, C. M. K., 23 f. 

§ Reinach, M. E., 322 fE. ; Cic, Pro Mur., xv., 33. 

II Bernhardt, C. M. K., 25. 
I K 

of efficiency. 


73 B.C. perhaps also entrusting him with the government of Bithynia 
with Cotta for his subordinate.* Circumstances had now, 
in fact, compelled it to do what its own common sense should 
have suggested at the beginning of the operations — to put 
the military and naval commands into one hand. 
The new party All these events intensified the discontent against the existing 
regime, which had now become widespread among all classes 
of the community. Their reaction was soon felt in the world 
of politics. They helped to complete the re-constitution 
of the old Democratic party, which now re-emerged into promi- 
nence upon a new basis and in a changed form. It was no 
longer a motley assemblage of bankrupts and desperadoes 
agitating for a social revolution, but a sober and orderly body 
composed of men from the upper and middle classes, claim- 
ing before all to be efficient in its methods and constitutional 
in its aims. What it demanded was simply a more upright 
and energetic administration : to be saved from the bare- 
faced exactions of extortionate officials and the perilous in- 
timidation of revolting slaves. Many of the best houses soon 
became something very like Opposition clubs, where young 
men made passionate speeches in favour of restoring the demo- 
cratic Constitution and revived the old battle-cries of Gracchan 
reform. One of their favourite meeting places was the house 
of Servilia, the young, witty and intellectual widow of the 
Marcus Brutus who had been killed by Pompey in the revolution 
of 78. She had contracted a second marriage with Decimus 
Junius Silanus, an aristocrat of advanced ideas, who kept open 
house for all the ardent spirits in the upper ranks of society,t 
conspicuous amongst whom was, of course, Caesar. Caesar was 
indeed beginning to find his way into houses which had been 
very unwilling to welcome him on his first return from the East. 
About this time he was elected by the people a trihunus militum, 
an appointment carrying with it the command of a thousand 
men in time of war. It was now all in his favour to be the 
nephew of Marius. He began to look round for the chance of 
some stroke of popularity which would launch him successfully 
upon a political career. 

* It is difficult to determine the gradual increase of LucuUus' 
powers, but it seems probable that the Bithynian governorship was 
given him after the, reUef of Cyzicus and Chalcedon. What is certain 
IS that the definitive conquest of Bithynia was made by LucuUus 
and that Cotta, even if not actually under his orders, was henceforward 
only entrusted with secondary commands, such as the siege of 
Heraclea. | Bynum, L. M. I. B 11 


This was no easy task even for a nephew of Marius. The 73 b.c. 
Roman electorate numbered at this time some 910,000 voters* 
Only a part of this total, however, was resident at Rome, and The chances of 
the remainder, who were scattered up and down the country, tiertionf 
could not be relied upon to come up for the annual elections. 
This alone introduced a great element of uncertainty into the 
voting, which was intensified by the nature of the resident 
electorate itself. The larger part of it consisted of the pro- 
letariat : that is to say of small shopkeepers and workmen, 
clients and dependents of men in high station, petty officials 
occupying posts in the administration reserved for free citizens, 
and the familiar derelict assemblage of unemployed and un- 
employable loafers and beggars. Few of these would scruple 
to seU their vote for a consideration. Skilful wire-puUers had 
thus gradually been enabled to elevate dealing in votes to the 
level of a regular trade. They formed the dregs of the elector- 
ate into organised clubs or " colleges," and made sure of their 
men by a careful system of free dinners and petty largess. 
They then sold their votes by contract to the several 
candidates, with complicated precautions to ensure the faith- 
ful execution of promises.f The remainder of the electorate, 
on the other hand, consisting of the weU-to-do bourgeoisie 
in Rome and Italy, the contractors and tax-farmers, merchants 
and landowners, wealthy freedmen and men of leisure and 
culture, rendered vain and capricious by their sense of power 
and the varied intellectual influences of the time, voted, when 
they voted at all, for some candidate they happened to like or 
to respect, on the inspiration of some momentary enthusiasm 
or animosity, or of some item of intelligence, whether true or 
false, which chanced to be circulated at the time of the elections. 
The treacherous breeze of popular favour might thus veer 
round from one hour to the next. The merest trifle, a well- 
placed rumour or a fortunate phrase, would sometimes alter 
all the probabilities of the situation between night and morn- 
ing, leading perhaps, by some sudden freak of popular feeling, 
to a result which was equally surprising to all parties concerned. 

To acquire influence over so fluid and heterogeneous a body 4;u.n"*da''°" ' 
of electors, unassisted by the ruling caste, was no easy matter. 
Caesar began by serving a sedulous apprenticeship in that 
forced labour of adulation to which all Roman pohticians of 
that day were condemned. He rose from his bed at dawn to 

* Phlegon, fr. 12 (the figures refer to the year 69). 
t Cic. in Verr., A., i. viii., 21 ; de Petit consul, v. 19. 


73 B.C. receive every busybody or nonentity in Rome or from the 
country who cared to come either simply to pay his respects 
to a man of influence and reputation, or with the more practical 
object of demanding his assistance in a law-suit or asking for 
pecuniary help, or for the farming of some tax, or for exemption 
from military service, or for a letter of introduction to the 
Governor of some distant province. He then went down 
stiU early into the Forum to plead causes, or to have a word with 
a magistrate or Senator or banker in the interests of some 
unfortunate client. The rest of his day was spent in the same 
laborious tedium. He allowed himself to be stopped in the 
street by any worthy citizen who chose to claim his acquaintance, 
racked his over-laden memory to recollect who he might be, 
or employed the indispensable services of the slave or nomen- 
clator, whose special business it was to remember the names of 
the greatest possible number of electors and to prompt his 
master so skilfully as to give the elector the illusion of being 
known by sight. He kept a pleasantry or a compliment or a 
promise ready on his lips for all comers, invited necessary 
acquaintances to dinner every evening, put in an appearance 
at the marriages, funerals, and family festivals of all classes of 
citizens, worked in support of some particular candidate in 
every election that took place, and gave hospitality in his house 
or provided regular assistance for a certain number of depend- 
ents from amongst the poorer classes in Rome, who served 
as his spies amongst the people, as his agents during elections, 
as a claque during his speeches in the Forum, or as his cut- 
throats in any personal quarrel. 
Rednction of But Cassar's hour was as yet far distant. For the moment 
other men loomed large in the public eye. Pompey in Spain 
was slowly, but steadily, gaining ground upon Sertorius. 
Lucullus, elated by his success at Cyzicus, had hastily collected 
a fleet from the allies and pursued the Pontic squadron into 
the iEgean, where he attacked and destroyed its several 
detachments in detail and put relentlessly to death all the 
Italian deserters whom he captured, including their com- 
mander, Marcus Marius. His subordinates were engaged 
meanwhile in besieging the refractory cities of Bithynia and 
amassing great wealth in slaves and loot.* Thus by about 
the middle of the year 73 LucuUus had succeeded in reducing 
the whole of Bithynia with the exception of Heraclea, and had 
forced Mithridates to return by sea into his own kingdom 
* Reinach, M. E., 332 f. 



vnth the remains of the army with which he had invaded 73 b.c. 
Bithynia in the previous year. It was at this moment of the 
campaign, some time during the summer, that LucuUus 
summoned a council of war at Nicomedia.* 

Almost aU his generals were in favour of allowing the troops Counca of war 
to rest till the follovidng spring ; but the Commander-in-Chief ** Nicomedia. 
did not endorse the advice of his subordinates. Whilst they 
regarded the situation from a strictly mihtary standpoint 
Lucullus was passing through a decisive crisis in his career — 
a crisis that was to be of far-reaching significance, not only for 
his own personal character, but for the whole moral and 
political development of the age, of which he may be regarded 
as a typical representative. It was, indeed, more than a mere 
matter of strategy which he had summoned his generals to 
decide. At once impatient and far-sighted, he had made 
up his mind for a course which would at last resolve the 
contradictions from which Roman policy had so long been 

Lucullus, who had now nearly turned fifty, had up to this change in the 
moment been an almost perfect specimen of that old Roman L^iSius.'^ ° 
aristocracy which might, by the exercise of its traditional 
qualities, have made the Constitution of SuUa a genuine and 
durable settlement. Austere and primitive in his habits, 
he was a sworn foe to all ostentation and luxury and, with the 
sole exception of Greek culture, to every kind of influence from 
abroad ; he gloried in his own poverty and had. a true noble's 
disdain for popularity and all vulgar and petty ambitions. 
Unfortunately an aristocrat of this nature was a sort of archaeo- 
logical rarity at Rome, one of the last representatives of a race 
of men that had long since vanished from the world. While 
he continued thus to profess the old inherited Roman virtues, 
Lucullus had watched the temptations of the new age growing 
up aU round him. He had seen friends of his own, who had 
unscrupulously enriched themselves in the proscriptions, 
honoured with more consideration than a poor man like himself. 
He had watched Pompey, who had risked so little in the Civil 
War, rise fast and high by the mere power of popularity. A 
man of his activity, intelligence and ambition must long since 
have asked himself whether, if he went on playing this obscure 
and old-fashioned part, he would not end by sacrificing his 
influence to men who shared his ambitions without partaking 
of his scruples. He had reluctantly acknowledged that the 
* Plut., Luc, 14 ; Reinach, M. E., 336. 


73 B.C. timid and hesitating policy of his party was justly exciting the 
reproaches of Italy, and that the government of Sulla was 
certain to be overturned if it did not show itself capable of any 
f service to Rome. The intrigues to which he had descended 

in order to obtain his command had been the first visible sign 
of a change in his character that had so far passed unnoticed 
by his contemporaries, and of which even LucuUus himself 
was perhaps unconscious. His success as a general precipitated 
the crisis. His victories at Cyzicus and in the ^gean had 
completed his conversion to the political methods of Pompey, 
whose fortune had been made by his cool disregard of the 
requirements of the constitution. He decided not to await the 
orders of the Senate, but to set out immediately and on his 
own initiative upon the invasion of Pontus. 
The policy of He knew the home government too well to doubt that, if 
persona ini la j^^ j^^^ stayed to wait for instructions, he would eventually, 
after a wearisome delay, have received orders to remain in- 
active or to return to Italy. If, on the other hand, he set 
forth on a distant expedition, during the course of which it 
would have been highly imprudent to recall him, he would 
easily secure a prolongation of his powers. Moreover, if the 
chiefs of the popular party threatened to oppose him, he was 
now in a position to corrupt them with the treasures of the 
Orient.* The avenging of the Treaty of Dardanus and the 
chastisement of Mithridates were surely well worth this con- 
cession to the perverted poHtical morality of the age. At the 
council of war at Nicomedia he therefore declared his deter- 
mination, in face of the opposition of almost all his generals, 
to attempt the immediate invasion of the kingdom of Mithri- 
dates. While Cotta undertook the siege of Heraclea, and 
Triarius remained with seventy ships in the Hellespont to 
intercept the Pontic vessels on their way from Spain and Crete, 
the Commander-in-Chief was to march with all his army upon 
the two ports of Amisus and Themiscyra, to secure a base of 
supphes for a long campaign in the mountainous districts of 
Pontus. Mithridates had meanwhile retired into the recesses 
of his kingdom, into the triangle formed by Cabira, Amasia 
and Eupatoria, to prepare for a fresh campaign and await 
the arrival of the reinforcements he had requested from his 
son-in-law Tigranes, King of Armenia, his son Macares, Viceroy 
of the Crimea, and from the Scythians.t 

* Sail., Hist. 4, f. 71 (Maurenbrecher). 
t App., Mithr., 78. 


Lucullus wasted little time over his preparations. Within 73 b.c. 
a few weeks he had led his army across Bithynia and Galatia 
into the defenceless kingdom of Pontus and abandoned a rich, The mat im- 
poptJous and peaceful country to his Italian soldiers, to rob J^Tiito"'"'" 
cattle and stores, precious metals and curios, and make enormous Po°t"s. 
and indiscriminate captures of slaves, men and women, rich 
and poor, peasants and burghers. AU who could produce a 
sufficient sum to buy their freedom were set at liberty : the 
rest were sold to the merchants who followed the army. The 
price a slave in the Roman camp soon sank to 4 drachmae.* [less than 
Yet the troops were still unsatisfied. They complained * 
that their impetuous general allowed them no time to 
carry off their loot at leisure, that he often even accepted 
the surrender of towns and villages on the condition that 
private property should be respected. t Their murmurings 
passed unheeded by Lucullus, always the strictest of disci- 
plinarians. He marched his legions rapidly through the 
country up to the walls of Amisus and Themiscyra, where 
an obstinate resistance obhged the Roman army to spend the 
winter of 73-72 in the trenches. The foe who had so often 
threatened the Romans in offensive campaigns was at last 
brought to bay. But the campaign involved far more than 
the ordinary miUtary operations, even of a war of the first 
magnitude. By his invasion of Pontus, Lucullus was not only 
precipitating the decision of a long and serious conflict ; he was 
making a revolution in the international relations of his country. 
He was introducing a new conception into Roman policy — 
the idea of aggressive Imperialism. The invasion of Pontus 
was the first symptom of that policy of the personal initiative 
of provincial generals which was destined, in the course of a 
single decade, to replace the feeble and inconsistent control 
of the Senate and become the strongest force in Roman govern- 
ment. By being the first to make trial at his own risk of the 
pohcy to which Pompey and Caesar were later to owe their 
glory, Lucullus revealed to Italy the new prospect which 
lay before her. He showed her how far stronger she was than 
the great neighbouring States which had always seemed so 
formidable, and stirred all her new passions in the temptation 
to despoil them. 

In the spring of 72 operations were vigorously resumed 
against Mithridates and his allies in Pontus, Thrace, and Spain. 

* App., Mithr., 78 ; Plut., Luc, 14. 
t Plut., Luc, 14. 

72 B.C. 

Defeat and 
flight of Mith- 

Operations in 

End of the 
war against 

Progress of 
the slave 
rising in Italy. 


Lucullus, hearing that the new army of Mithridates was 
nearly ready and not wishing to be attacked under the walls 
of Amisus and Themiscyra, boldly marched out to meet it with 
part of his army, while the remainder continued the siege under 
the command of Lucius Licinius Murena. DifHculties of 
commissariat made the expedition both trying and dangerous, 
but Lucullus was assisted by the treachery of several of the 
Pontic generals.* He was thus able to inflict a decisive defeat 
on Mithridates, who had lost the best of his troops in the 
invasion of Asia and Bithynia in the preceding year, and had 
received none of the reinforcements which he had demanded- 
LucuUus seized the camp and the treasures of Mithridates. 
The king himself once more escaped him ; in the disorder of 
the retreat he succeeded in shpping away, after leaving orders 
that all the women in his harem should be put to death.f 
Meanwhile Marcus, brother of LucuUus, who had been sent as 
pro-Consul into Macedonia and was engaged on the conquest of 
Thrace, had crossed the Balkans and even reached the Danube. X 
He cut off the hands of whole tribes to strike terror into their 
neighbours,§ and not only pUlaged the settlements of the 
Barbarians, but even the renowned Greek cities on the coast, 
which maintained friendly relations with Mithridates.^ 

At the other end of the world, in Spain, Pompey was at 
length able to bring his campaign to a close, thanks chiefly 
to the treachery of Perpenna, who had brought the strange 
career of Sertorius to an end by assassination. He was now 
beginning a war of plunder and extermination against the 
towns which had sided viith Sertorius or welcomed his 

In Italy on the other hand, Spartacus after defeating the 
two Consuls of the year, was engaged in a triumphal progress 
from one end of the Peninsula to the other, followed by a 
crowd of traders, who shamelessly provided the slave-leader 
with all the materials that he needed for the manufacture of The upper classes and the well-to-do bourgeoisie 
were in the wildest dismay. They thought of the vines and 
olives so recently planted, of the farms with their well-stocked 

* Reinach, M. E., 335-6. f ■'<^-. 337-342- 

{ The exaggerations of Florus, iii., 4,6, with regard to these expedi- 
tions should be compare.! with the soberer accounts in Eutrupius, vi., 
lO ; Appian, iii., 30 ; Orosius, xi., 3, 4 ; Servius on Verg. Ma., vii. 605. 

§ Florus, iii., 4, 7. 

"ir Driimann, G. R., iv. 178 ; Eutrop., vi., 10. 

** Drumann, G. R., iv. 376. -ff App., B. C, i. 117. 


wine-cellars so welcome to the insurgents, and the mutinous 71 b.c. 
temper of their slaves, so recently imported into Italy and not 
yet accustomed to a hfe of dependence. But a Senate of robbers 
and extortioners could do little to help them. Distant and 
defenceless provinces it had strength enough to pillage ; but 
it was powerless to repel the enemy at its gates. In the nervous 
and impressionable state of national feeling, courage and 
cowardice, like everything else, had become contagious. The 
soldiers sent to fight against Spartacus, like the officers who 
commanded and the poHticians who enrolled them, were now 
completely demoralised. At the elections in 71 there were 
actually not sufficient candidates for the vacancies, so terrible 
was the prospect of having to command an army against the 
invincible slave-leader.* 

The Senate realised that this scandal would fiU the measure Crassns 
of popular indignation to the brim, that it was imperative 
at all costs to find some capable and energetic commander to 
put in command of the war. It found him in the person of 
one of the Praetors for that year. Marcus Licinius Crassus was 
the descendant of a noble family which we have already seen 
distinguishing itself during the SuUan reaction. A spoilt 
child of fortune, he had received from her every possible gift — 
illustrious birth, a rich patrimony, quick and easy opportunities 
for prominence, and an excellent education. He was alert, 
cultivated and inquisitive ; and had shown gifts both of 
patience and initiative. He had already won a considerable 
military reputation by bringing help at a critical moment, 
during the battle of the CoUine Gate, one of the most important 
of SuUa's victories, which was at one moment nearly turned 
into a defeat. Moreover, although he was born rich, he had 
increased his fortune by buying the goods of the proscribed, 
and his wealth, together wdth the part he had played in the 
repressive measures of SuUa, made him an important personage 
in Roman society. He had since been elected without difficulty 
and in the regular order to all the offices up to the Praetorship, 
had devoted himself successfully to business and become one of 
the most powerful capitalists in Rome. Nor was he averse 
to the new movement in education. Distinguished teachers 
from Greece and Rome found a ready welcome in his house, 
and he himself had studied philosophy and cultivated a natural 
gift for literature and eloquence. Crassus was rich and in- 
telligent ; he enjoyed an assured position and a large measure 
* App., B. C, i. 118 ; Oros. v. 24, 5. 


71 B.C. of power. Yet where others would have been content he 
remained restless and dissatisfied. He had been led by the 
favours of fortune to believe that there was nobody to whom 
he owed the first place either in office, or power, or public 
esteem, and he was tormented by jealousy of the reputation 
of Pomp ey, who was almost his own age and had been his 
fellow in arms in the war against the revolution. Unfor- 
tunately Crassus was by nature rather a careful and hard- 
headed man of business, than a prodigal and high-spirited 
politician capable of dominating and inspiring a city crowd. 
In some respects he was not unlike many of the great 
Jewish bankers of the generation that is now passing away. 
He was a man of moderate needs, of unblemished private 
character,* greatly attached to his family life and accustomed, 
in all departments of life and in every enterprise to which he 
put his hand, to exercise the minutest and most painstaking 
supervision. He made it his business to take advantage with 
infinite prudence and perseverance of every favourable oppor- 
tunity, whether great or small; he advanced money to a 
large and influential circle of dependents ; he defended every 
case that was offered him, even pleading for men so vile and 
abject that Cassar refused to take up their cause; he was 
lavish in paying respects and compliments to persons of all 
kinds. Yet, in spite of all, he was far less admired and popular 
than Pompey. Pompey seemed to receive aU the honour 
and homage that came to him with a sort of indolent pride. 
He never condescended, or at least he never appeared to con- 
descend, to ask for favours, and yet he had already succeeded 
in obtaining a triumph and a pro-consular command without 
even occupying a magistracy. Crassus, on the other hand, 
was still a mere Praetor. He had no qualities that caught the 
imagination of the people. His minute attention to business 
and his aptitude for figures, hindered rather than helped his 
political advance. There was nobody whom he hated to the 
death, but there was nobody that he would foUow to the 
death. He was not cruel for the pleasure of being cruel ; yet 
he was utterly without the scruples either of native honesty, 
or of the caste to which he belonged. A grand seigneur by 
deliberate policy rather than by native instinct, he alternated 
displays of the most lavish munificence with small exhibitions 
of pettiness ; he was inexorable, for instance, in demanding 
the restitution of sums lent originally out of complaisance, 
* Velleius, ii., 46 ; Driimann, G. R., iv., iii. 


if, when the time came, he thought he had no more need of his 71 b.c. 
debtor. Thus all his elaborate and painstaking generosity- 
left him no more popular than before.* 

The widespread influence and the military reputation of His campaign 
Crassus marked him out as a natural commander in the war ffi^r' ^^"' 
against Spartacus. Excited by the fame that Pompey had 
won by his Spanish victories, and conscious that still greater 
distinction awaited the conqueror of the slaves, Crassus set 
himself to his task with characteristic energy. He broke down 
the infectious cowardice of his soldiers by reviving a penal 
measure which had been obsolete for many years, punishing the 
first cohorts who fled before the enemy with decimation. t 
But although he succeeded in inflicting several defeats upon 
the slaves he was unable either to crush them completely or to 
capture their chief. For a moment Crassus himself almost 
lost his self-confidence.J The well-to-do classes throughout 
Italy were losing aU patience and at length the Senate took 
the step of re-caUing Pompey from Spain to entrust him with 
the task of bringing Spartacus to bay.§ 

Crassus was not the man to surrender the fame which had End of the 
seemed almost within his grasp, and was goaded to redouble ^'^'* "*"''' 
aU his previous exertions. Spartacus was a military genius 
and had worked miracles : but his heterogeneous army could 
not hold out indefinitely. Discord and desertion came to 
Crassus' aid, and he was finally able to vsdn a victory, in the 
course of which Spartacus was killed. || When Pompey returned 
from Spain he found no more of the enemy than a small 
band of refugees whom he met in the Alps.^ Six thousand 
slaves who were taken prisoners were crucified along the 
Appian Way,** as a warning example to their companions in 
captivity. The aristocracy then as always, felt no pity for 
rebels, and the middle class, which was beginning to have 
slaves of its own, and which on any other occasion would have 
favoured humane treatment, was just now disposed to be 
equally severe. 

Meanwhile Lucullus, who had spent the vnnter of 72-71 at Lucuiiusand 

^ ' his army. 

* Pint., Crass., 6-7. 

t App., B. C, i. 118 ; Plut., Crass., 10; Driimann, G. R., iv. yg. 

t Plut., Crass., 11. 

§ This is, I believe, the right explanation of App., B. C, i. up. 
It was probably the Senate, and not the people, that recalled Pompey, 
but it was public opinion that forced the Senate to do so. 

II Hut., Crass., 11. ; App., B. C, i. 120. 

"^ Plut., Porop., 21 ; Crass,, 11. 

** App., B. C., i. 120 ; Ores., v. 24, 7. 


71 B.C. Cabira in the palace of the fugitive king,* was^training his small 
army for the final conquest of Pontus, treating it rather as an 
inanimate instrument than as a body of living and feeling men. 
In a nature so violent and passionate as his, the change which 
had begun after the victories in 74 and 73, had run its course 
very rapidly. It would have been difficult to recognise the 
proud and penurious young aristocrat, once the chosen Heu- 
tenant of Sulla, in the greedy, ambitious, and intriguing 
commander who had secured for himself the government of 
Asia, brought the whole of the East within his power, and kept 
the chiefs of the popular party at his beck and call in the 
capital by sending home after every victory in the field, or 
surrender of a city, long trains of mules bearing gifts of gold 
and silver and works of art. Contact with the wealth and 
luxury of the Eastern world had awakened all the latent 
cupidity of a nature which had resisted even the facile tempta- 
tions of the proscriptions. But with a strange but very human 
inconsistency he stiU remained; as a general, the stern unbend- 
ing aristocrat of the old days, barely admitting that his legions 
had any other rights but to obey. LucuUus was not exactly 
a cruel man, but, like all haughty and passionate natures, he 
was little tolerant of opposition and sank into a condition of 
extreme egoism, almost of monomania, whenever his mind was 
fiUed with one idea or one aim. His absolute power as a 
general, the intoxication of his successes, the vastness of the 
schemes which he was maturing, the innumerable small details 
of his office, together with the temptations of ambition and 
avarice, which were all the more insidious because so recently 
awakened, had swollen his natural arrogance and brutality 
to unmeasured dimensions. The soldiers complained that he 
no longer came among them like a comrade, passing from tent 
to tent with a kindly word of praise or encouragement, but 
passed by impatiently on horseback with an escort, and only 
when miHtary reasons demanded it : that he had become 
taciturn and preoccupied, never recognising or addressing 
them except to point out or to punish shortcomings, or to 
demand the fulfilment of one difficult and perilous duty after 
another : and that, if he did occasionally allow them some share 
in the loot, he did so with a miserly reluctance, and as though 
he were afraid of spoiling them by indulgence. The officers, 

* PMegon, fr. 12. By making the war begin in 74, the emendation 
proposed by Reinach, M. E., 336, n. 2, becomes unnecessary. See 
Bernhardt, C. M. K., 21, n. 5. 


who were members of the best families in Rome, were indignant 71 b.c 

at his continual reprimands for slackness and incapacity : 

they chafed at his complete indifference to name or rank, at 

his burdening them with order after order and service after 

service as though they had constitutions of iron like himself 

and were incapable of feeling fatigue ; and they declared that, 

work as hard as they liked, they could never succeed in winning 

his approbation.* And yet LucuUus was attached to his men, 

and had a sincere respect for many of his officers ; but he was 

too absorbed and harassed by his own multifarious projects 

to reflect on the immense value which would have been attached 

to an occasional word of commendation or kindness. He had 

no eyes for the incongruity of a situation which permitted 

him to send off to his representatives in Italy vast stores of 

money and works of art, while he went on labouring to 

repress the rapacity of his soldiers, and seemed to expect 

them to toil only for the advancement of his own personal 


The soldiers had naturally expected that Lucullus would The capture 
attack the mountain strongholds where aU the treasures of the Amisus™" 
court were deposited,t and thus reward them for their long 
hardships vyith the treasure chests and the furniture of the 
Pontic king. But LucuUus, unblinded by the prospect of 
loot, intended first to make himself complete master of Pontus 
by taking the large Greek cities, Amasia, Amisus and Sinope ; 
and he followed his usual custom, and the example of the old 
Roman generals, in paying no attention to the wishes of his 
soldiers. After securing the surrender of a few fortresses by 
treachery, he led his grumbling legions against these last relics 
of the civilising power of Greece upon the Black Sea. Ever 
since Rome's maladministration of the Pergamene bequest, 
her power had become hated and feared by aU. the Greeks 
in Asia ; and the cities had thus prepared to make a long and 
obstinate resistance. By the end of 71 only Amisus had as yet 
surrendered.! It had been a terrible night for Lucullus when 
his soldiers, after seizing the town in a surprise assault, had 
rushed through the streets by torch-light, rioting, sacking and 
butchering, and setting many of the houses on fire. Lucullus 
was a typical Roman general, but he had been brought up under 
the influences of Greek culture, and he reverenced the memory 
of Hellenism. When he saw Amisus, the Athens of Pontus, 

* Dion, fr. 330, 16 (Gros.) ; Plut., Luc, 33. 
I Reinach, M. E., 260. { Id. 349. 


71 B.C. a prey to the flames, he threw himself like a madman among 
his troops, seeking to bring them back to reason and discipline, 
and beseeching their help to save the city from extinction. 
But he was asking too much. The patience of the long- 
suffering legionary had broken down. Now that he was at 
last finding compensation for long months of hardship, and 
finding it after his own brutal and terrible fashion, it was in 
vain for his general to interfere with the old catch-words of 
moderation. LucuUus only narrowly escaped being torn to 
pieces ; and he had reluctantly to allow his unruly condottieri 
to do their will on the daughter city of Athens. They were 
symbolic of the age in which they lived, an age in which the 
highest powers of the human spirit were becoming refined 
in their desires, and in the enjoyment of the noblest things 
the world has to offer, while at the same moment aU the 
bestial instincts were let loose in the struggle of man against 
man for the acquirement of wealth and power. The old 
military severity personified by LucuUus was forced to give 
way before a mob of mutinous soldiers with a wild beast appe- 
tite for plunder. Their general could do no more than set 
at liberty all who survived from the carnage, and rebuild the 
fallen city.* 

* Plut., Luc, 19 ; App., Mith., 83 ; Memnon, 45. 


Pompey and Crassus stand for the Consulship — Reconciliation 
of Pompey and Crassus — Pompey's democratic measures — 
The Sicilians accuse Verres — Cicero — ^The Conservative party 
and the defence of Verres — ^New dissensions between Pompey 
and Crassus — ^The elections for 69 and the judicial law of Cotta 
— Intrigues of Verres — The trial of Verres and first great success 
of Cicero — ^LucuUus takes Sinope, Amasia and Heraclea. 

While Lucullus was fighting in Asia, the Conservative party Position of 
continued to lose ground in Italy. The successes of its general 
in the East caused no improvement in its owrn position at 
home, for every one realised that they were due solely to the 
personal initiative of LucuUus and not to the policy of the 
Senate. Even aristocrats began to turn towards ideas of 
democratic reform ; and one of the most active and prominent 
young men of the party was even now preparing to secede from 
its ranks. In the second half of the year 71, when he returned 
to Rome from the Spanish War, Pompey was no longer what 
he had been at his departure, a young protege of Sulla, for whom 
every one predicted a brilliant career. By his victory over 
Sertorius, the importance of which had been greatly exag- 
gerated so as to win him widespread popularity in Italy, he 
had become, at the age of thirty-six, one of the great person- 
ages of the Republic, a man who, although he had never held 
any public office, and was not even a Senator, could take equal 
rank beside the most influential and respected of his con- 
temporaries. No member of the younger generation, not even 
Crassus, had had greater chances offered him than Pompey. But 
the rapidity of his rise, as he could not help being aware, had 
excited much jealousy among the ruling caste. On his return 
from Spain he felt his anomalous situation was becoming 
precarious ; and he resolved to secure himself once and for all 
by standing in the ordinary course as a candidate for public 
office. Unfortunately, it is sometimes just as difficult to find 


71 B.C. the way out of a privileged position as to find the way in. 
After commanding armies as a pro-Consul and receiving the 
title of Imperator, Pompey could not very well begin his career 
over again, as the laws demanded, with the Quaestorship and 
the .^dileship. He decided therefore, to concentrate his 
efforts on the highest office of all, and to appear as a candidate 
for the Consulship in the year 70, thus returning into the ordin- 
ary groove through an irregularity greater than all that had 
preceded : for he had neither the age nor any of the other 
qualifications requisite for becoming Consul. 
He veers The moment seemed propitious ; but there were the old diffi- 

Democratsf culties in his way, and the means which had hitherto proved 
successful in overcoming them would no longer suffice. It was 
certain that the Conservatives, many of whom were jealous of 
his promotion and had hampered his Spanish campaign by the 
refusal of supplies, would use every effort to oppose his candida- 
ture. On the other hand, the relative positions of Pompey and 
his party had altered considerably during the years of his ab- 
sence in Spain. While the Conservatives had been declining in 
popular estimation, Pompey had been steadily gaining ground, 
till he was now, in company with Crassus, the man of the hour, 
and the most popular general in the State. Like most of his 
generation, he held but lightly by principle ; his successes had 
filled him with self-confidence, and roused his indignation 
against a party from whom he had received nothing and 
expected nothing. It was a tempting prospect to woo himself 
into favour with the Democrats, and come back to power at the 
head of his new party to exact retribution from the treacherous 
allies who had played him false during the war. He began 
by making advances to the tribunes of the people promising, if 
he obtained the Consulship by their support, to re-establish 
the old prerogatives of the Tribunician power. These pro- 
posals were received wdth enthusiasm by the popular party, 
who were lacking in influential leaders. It was felt that a man 
so distinguished by his ancestry and achievements, his social 
position and assured popularity, was well worth the sacrifice 
of a few terrible memories.* Within a few days, the friend 
of Su]la,the man who had murdered Junius Brutus and quenched 
in bloodshed the revolt of Lepidus, had become the admired 
leader of the popular party and its candidate for the Consul- 

Yet it is likely enough that for all this Pompey's candidature 
* Driimann, G. R., iv. 379. 


would not have succeeded if chance had not come once more 71 b.c. 
to his assistance. Crassus, whose old chagrin had been re- 
awakened by the intervention of Pompey in his campaign Crassus and 
against the slaves,* was himself casting an eye on the chief fieSH'con- 
magistracy when he learnt of his rival's intention. Now the ™'*- 
candidature of Crassus, who was still in command of an army, 
although less irregular than that of Pompey, was also un- 
constitutional. The two generals decided to forget, if not to 
forgive, their differences and to join forces for mutual advantage. 
Crassus needed the popularity of Pompey to recommend him 
to the suffrages of the people.f Pompey needed the mediation 
of Crassus to overcome the opposition of Crassus' debtors in 
the Senate. Their calculations proved correct. Under the 
pretext of waiting for a triumph both generals kept their 
troops under arms outside Rome, and the Senate was soon 
intimidated into admitting the legality of both candidatures. 
Crassus and Pompey were thereupon elected without opposi- 
tion to the Consulship for the year 70, and Pompey begged his 
friend Marcus Terentius Varro to write him a memorandum 
on the duties of a Consul, of which, as he said, he was com- 
pletely ignorant.! 

Pompey's promises to the democrats and his popularity with Dissensions 
the middle class gave hopes of a memorable Consulship, crassusand 
But during the months that elapsed between the election and Pompey. 
the end of the year (the Consuls entered upon their duties 
on January i), the prospect was clouded by the renewal of 
hostility between the two allies. Crassus declined to follow 
Pompey in his conversion to democracy or to lend him assist- 
ance in his schemes of reform. No doubt he was afraid that 
the glory of any such achievements would fall to the colleague 
of whom he was so jealous, and to whose initiative they would 
indeed be due. He was, moreover, too Conservative hy birth, 
inclination and interest not to look with disquietude on the 
results of a democratic triumph. In carrying through a pro- 
gramme of this nature the very foundations of Sulla's work, 
its moral authority no less than its legal guarantees, seemed 
likely to be affected ; and Crassus, of course, had not only 
been one of the most useful of Sulla's agents ; he had also 
bought up, for enormous sums, the goods of the proscribed. 
The Consuls were thus unable to come to any agreement. 
Neither of them dismissed their legions. Even after entering 

* Plut., Pomp., 21 ; Crass., 11. f Pint., Pomp., 22 ; Crass., 12. 

{ Aul., Gell., xiv. 7. 
I L 


71 B.C. Rome and celebrating an ovation, Crassus declared that he 
would keep his army under orders so long as Pompey did the 
same. Pompey on his side only increased the emphasis of his 
democratic professions. When, between the end of November 
and the beginning of December, the Tribune of the people, 
Marcus Lollius Palicanus, conducted a huge crowd outside 
the walls to his camp to hear a statement of his Consular pro- 
gramme,* he made them an exceedingly violent speech. Too 
long, he said, had they watched votes being sold by auction to 
the highest bidder in the tribunals ; too long had they groaned 
under the intolerable iniquities of official plunderers in the pro- 
vinces. He declared openly that he would set his hand to the 
redress of these abuses, and gave them also to understand that 
he would re-establish in their entirety the prerogatives of the 
Tribunes. His oration was immensely successful. Yet Crassus 
was still undecided : and the unhappy disagreement between 
the t Consuls might make havoc of all Pompey's excellent 
Public recon- Their friends attempted to interpose. Great popular 
tweenfcras'sus demonstrations were organised to coax the two into a recon- 
and Pompey. ciliation. At last, when, on January i, Pompey entered 
upon his office, Crassus was so far overcome by public 
opinion as to declare himself ready to support the policy of his 
colleague. The reconciliation took place in public, apparently 
in the first days of their Consulship, and their troops were 
forthwith dismissed.f Soon afterwards, assisted by the huge 
distributions of corn made by Crassus and the sumptuous 
festivals arranged by Pompey, the latter opened his attack 
upon the Constitution of Sulla, demanding that the Tribunes 
should be given back the powers taken from them by Sulla, 
particularly the power of proposing laws without authorisation 
from the Senate. As this last proposal required to be approved 
by the Senate, a huge agitation was set on foot to intimidate 
the majority. Caesar, always on the look-out for opportunities 
of self-advertisement, dashed into the fray and made intemper- 
ate speeches at public meetings,! while Crassus made quiet 

* Cic, in Verr., A. i., 15 ; Asc, p. 148 (Orelli). 

•f It is to Appian (B. C, i. 121), and not to Plutarch (Pomp., 23, 
Crass., 12), that we must look, despite the briefness of his account^ 
for the truth about the quarrel and reconciliation. Suet., Caesar, 19, 
declares, what is confirmed by the whole story of the events from 70 
to 60, that Crassus and Pompey were on bad terms at the end of 
their Consulship. 

+ See Suet., Caes., 5. 


but effective use of his subterranean channels of influence in 70 b.c. 
the Senate. 

Encouraged by Pompey's proposals and by the manifest Verres and the 
weakness of the Conservatives, the animosities v?hich had long " *°^' 
been smouldering against the Sullan clique now broke out 
on all sides. Public feeling was soon excited to fever heat. 
Whilst their leaders were satisfied with attacking the system, 
the people cried out for a victim in flesh and blood. Fortune 
delivered one into their hands in the person of Caius Verres, 
an ex-officer in the revolutionary army, who, like Cethegus, 
had known exacdy when to leap from the sinking ship ; passing 
thence into the service of the Conservative party, he had been 
elected Praetor for the year 74, and then sent as pro-Prsetor 
to Sicily where, thanks to the influence of his friends at Rome, 
he had succeeded in remaining three years instead of one. 
Whether his ravages and exactions in the island were really 
so shameless as his accusers declared, or whether the story of his 
crimes is not, in part at any rate, a legend skilfully set in circu- 
lation by the enemies of his party, must remain one of the 
secrets of history. It is difficult to judge a man's conduct 
fairly when we only possess the articles of his prosecution. 
It is certain, at any rate, that people in Rome had been saying 
for a long time past that Verres was guilty of countless offences, 
not only against Sicilians, but even against Roman citizens; 
and his scandalous misrule was thought to be ruining the 
greatest and most indispensable of the Roman granaries.* 
So loud was the outcry that his successor, a Conservative 
named Lucius Metellus, had gone to SicUy with the sincere 
intention of repairing his maladministration,! and the Sicilian 
cities had been so far encouraged as to send a deputation to 
accuse him at Rome. 

At a quieter moment this prosecution would have had no The Democrats 
better chance of succeeding than the many others attempted case. *" 
by provincials during the SuUan regime. It was almost im- 
possible that they should find a sympathetic hearing. There 
were too many private interests always enlisted against truth 
and justice ; and a condemnation infringed the self-constituted 
right of the governing class to pillage the provinces at their 
will. The unhappy complainants invariably faUed to find 
an influential patron among the Conservatives, and were 
generally forced back upon the feeble resources of the demo- 

* See the excellent study by Ciccotti ; // processo di Verre, Milan, 
189s, pt 79 ff. t Cic. in Verr., A. ii., xxv., 62 ft. 


70 B.C. crats for some defender devoid of influence or reputation, 
thus entering upon their struggle against the formidable 
conspiracy of class interests armed only with the discredited 
weapon of the justice of their cause. But for once the Sicilian 
deputies had arrived at Rome in the nick of time. The agitation 
for reform was just being inaugurated, and public opinion at 
once declared vehemently in their favour. Pompey and the 
chiefs of the democratic party snatched at the opportunity. 
Perceiving that a great case against extortion would be an excel- 
lent means of fomenting their agitation, they took the affair 
directly under their patronage and resolved not to let it drop. 
The Sicilians did not even now find an influential advocate 
to defend them ; but they chose better than they knew when 
they secured Marcus Tullius Cicero, a young man of thirty- 
six, of great abiUty, and unusual eloquence, who was free from 
all connections wdth the Conservative party, and yet ambitious 
of achieving a great position in the State. 
Cicero's career Cicero was born at Arpinum of an equestrian family of small 

and ambitions. _t , , , J^ , t -^ 1 j hi • • -i 

means. He belonged to what we should call the provincial 
bourgeoisie, and was being brought up in the old-time sim- 
phcity of an Italian country town. He had received a very 
careful literary education, and had gone on to Greece to attend 
courses of philosophy and eloquence. With his time fully 
occupied in study he had spent his youth, like the Romans of 
the older generation, undistracted by the amusements and 
temptations on which so many of the young men of his day 
wasted time and money. Yet it was not poHtical ambition 
or the hope of playing a leading part in the RepubHc which 
had given him strength to serve so thoroughly in the hard 
apprenticeship of eloquence. AVhen, on the death of his 
father he had inherited his modest fortune, an estate at Arpinum 
and a house at Rome, and had come to establish himself in the 
metropolis, he found Sulla all-powerful and the younger 
members of the equestrian families excluded from politics. 
Cicero, who was an upright man, and abhorrisd the excesses of 
the cabal, soon convinced himself that the gates of power 
would always remain closed to a young Italian who refused 
to take service under Sulla or his accomplices. Endowed with 
all the qualities that go to make up the artistic temperament, 
with imagination, sensibility and a feeling for beauty, but 
ambitious at the same time for recognition and renown, he had 
perhaps not found it difficult to renounce all dreams of political 
greatness for the more congeiual ideal of becoming a prince 


of the Forum, a worthy rival of Hortensius and the great 70 b.c. 
masters of Roman law and oratory. 

He had made a striking debut. Spurred on by the ambition cicero as 
of youth, and by a genuine detestation of violence, he had ^^^'■ 
accepted the defence of several unhappy men, Roscius amongst 
others, persecuted, under different pretexts, by the creatures 
of the dictator. His generous hardihood, aided by truly 
exceptional powers of eloquence, had soon brought his name 
into celebrity and enabled him, about the year 77, to con- 
tract a successful marriage with Terentia, a lady belonging 
to a rich and distinguished family, who brought him in a 
dowry of 120,000 drachmae and owned several houses at [;C«8«>.] 
Rome and an estate near Tusculum. This marriage had made [Frascatt] 
Cicero, who lived in a simple style, extremely comfortable, 
if not exactly rich. He continued to plead in the law- 
courts, keeping himself honourably independent of the Con- 
servative party and acting up to the ideal of the older lawyers, 
who refused to admit the giving of legal assistance to be a regular 
profession, preferring to regard it as a social duty performed 
gratuitously by the wealthy. While Hortensius and other 
celebrated advocates of the Conservative party gladly under- 
took the defence of provincial governors for a reasonable share 
in the spoils, Cicero was pre-eminent among his contem- 
poraries for his strict observance of the lex Cincia, which 
debarred advocates from the acceptance of a honorarium from 
their cUents. His impeccable honesty, the simplicity of his 
life, and his courageous independence of the Conservative 
clique, together with his great intellectual and oratorical gifts, 
had attracted to him general esteem and sympathy, not only 
among active democratic partisans, but among aU ranks of 
society. His political career had borne witness to his popu- 
larity. Although he had little money to spend on elections and 
cherished few political ambitions, he had already been elected 
to the Quasstorship without even the expense of a contest.* 

Cicero accepted with enthusiasm the defence of the Sicilians, cicero goes to 
It appears that he succeeded already in January in inducing if^_ ^ ^"' 
the Praetor, Manius Acilius Glabrio, to refuse to entertain 
an accusation directed against Verres by Quintus CaecUius, 
his old Quaestor ; possibly with the connivance of Verres 
himself. Then, having secured a delay of one hundred and 
ten days for the collection of evidence, he left for SicUy. 

* See the admirable work by Boissier : Ciceron et ses amis, 1902, 
p. 9. 83 ff- 

yo B.C. 

The Tribu- 
nician Bill 
passes the 

The aris- 
tocracy and 
the cabal. 

The condition 
of the aris- 


Meanwhile the Conservatives had been unable to repel the 
attacks of Pompey. When the Bill dealing with the powers of 
the Tribunes was discussed in the Senate, only a small number 
of members ventured to oppose it, amongst them Marcus 
Lepidus, Marcus LucuUus and Catulus. Even Catulus, how- 
ever, went so far as to acknowledge that Pompey's measure 
might seem to be justified by the corruption of the Senatorial 
tribunals.* The large majority of Senators approved of the bill.f 

Here surely we have decisive proof that, after ten years of 
scandal and conflict, opposition to the aristocratic regime was 
widespread in all classes and even extended to the nobility. 
Curiously enough, it seems to have been most felt amongst the 
two extreme wings of the aristocracy, comprising its best and 
its worst elements : amongst the able and vigorous young men 
who were its most stalwart and promising upholders, and among 
the ambitious and unprincipled products of the changed con- 
ditions of the time. 

The old land-holding aristocracy had by now become trans- 
formed into a society of financiers and plutocrats. Of the 
historic nobility of Rome but a small circle of families remained, 
almost aU of them in straitened circumstances.! The upper 
class was no longer composed solely of the nobility, but included 
many wealthy knights and some men of humbler origin but 
distinguished gifts like Cicero ; it found room, in fact, for all 
the boldest and most skilful competitors in the universal 
struggle for wealth, education and power. There were still, 
it is true, a certain number of old families which preserved the 
characteristic ideas which all aristocracies seem to have the 
power of crystallising long after their political decay, ideas 
which had at Rome been re-awakened and intensified by the 
reaction of Sulla. There were still men who felt the old 
hostility against the upstart classes, the old contempt for the 
present generation as vulgar and corrupt, the old prejudice 
for the principle of authority, and a horror of all poUtical change 
whether wanton and criminal or merely indispensable for the 
progress of society. Such men could not conceive how the 

* Cic, in Verr., i. 15. Ascon., in Cic, Pro Corn., p. 79 (Orelli). 

t Driimann, G. E., iv. 388. 

} As examples of noble families reduced to ruin at this time may 
be cited the family of M. Antonius, Praetor in 75 (Drumann, G. R., 
ii. 46) ; of Appius Claudius Pulcher, Consul in 79, and father of the 
notorious Clodius, of the Consul of 54, and of Clodia (Driimann, 
G. R., ii. 184 fi.) ; of Cneius Piso (Sallust, Cat., 18) ; of Publinius Lentulus 
Sura (id. 17). See above for Caesar's family. Plutarch (Cic, 10), 
speaks of the poverty of the old Roman nobility at this time. 


son of a peasant at Velletri or Arpinum, who happened, through 70 b.c. 
fortunate speculations, to have become a millionaire, could 
venture to rival them in the display of riches and share in the 
distribution of political offices. They could not bear to see 
a crowd of obscure lawyers and Tribunes, who had fought 
their way up from the lower ranks of society, hurling accusa- 
tions against the patricians who had once been the demi-gods 
of the people. They hated to see the cobblers and artisans, 
the shopkeepers and freedmen of Rome hissing their superiors 
when they appeared in the Forum, and refusing them their 
votes when they were canvassed at elections : and they turned 
away more in sorrow than in indignation from an age which 
seemed to have lost aU respect for birth or breeding or in- 
herited wealth or intelligence. 

Yet there were nobles who perceived that the rising power of The new policy 
the middle class and the knights could no longer be treated in tocra^c"" 
the spirit of two centuries ago ; that the times were changed, 
and new aspirations must perforce be satisfied ; and who were 
prepared, whether through philosophic conviction or personal 
ambition, to adapt their opinions to a new society, in which, 
whatever the pessimists might say, intelligence and wealth 
were bound to take precedence over the claims of manners 
and ancestry. Such men realised that the surest way of pre- 
serving the social power of the nobility was through a conscious 
adaptation to the new democratic rigime. Nor need they 
despair of fully holding their own. The centralisation of the 
poHtical offices at Rome, the claims of business, the absence 
of a political tradition or of easy means of advancement, the 
terrible memories of the Civil Wars and the reaction, aU tended 
to divert from the poHtical arena almost the whole of the 
equestrian order and the new middle class. Had it not been 
for the surviving aristocratic families, there would actually 
not have been a sufficiency of magistrates of all sorts to provide 
for the government of the Empire. If only, therefore, the 
aristocracy consented to abandon absurd and superannuated 
pretensions, it could stUl continue to divide among its members 
almost all the offices of the State. 

After this initial success with the Tribunician BiU in the Revival of the 
Senate, Sulla's work was attacked on all sides. Plautius, one of Censorship, 
the Tribunes, who was seconded by Csesar, secured the passing of 
an amnesty for the survivors of the Civil Wars, including all 
who had fought for Lepidus and Sertorius.* The Censorship, 
* Suet., Caes., 5. 


70 B.C. 

Cotta's Bill 
puts the Con- 
servatives on 
their mettle. 

which had been suspended seventeen years before, was re- 
established, and, in April or May, the new Censors, Lucius 
Gellius and Cneius Lentulus, cleared the Senate of many of 
the friends of SuUa, driving out amongst others Caius Antonius 
Hybrida, whom Caesar had unsuccessfully attacked in 77. 

This was only the prelude to a more determined onslaught. 
Lucius Aurelius Cotta, a noble of democratic opinions, now pro- 
posed to restore to the knights their old power in the law-courts, 
on the ground that, as they were almost all of them rich, there 
would be no object in attempting to corrupt them.* But here 
the issue was no longer so simple ; and the reform of the law- 
courts met with a far more strenuous opposition than any of 
the preceding proposals. Brought forward at a moment when 
the public was taking so Hvely an interest in the case of Verres, 
it caused consternation in the Conservative camp. It is easy 
to recall the arguments by which they stiffened their resistance. 
The Tribunes had now recovered their old prerogatives, and it 
was enough to prosecute any one of any wealth or distinction 
for his condemnation to be assured without prospect of appeal. 
It was an ominous moment to select for allowing the knights 
to sit in judgment over their Senatorial enemies. Hence- 
forward every provincial Governor would be, like Verres, at 
the mercy of his subjects. Year by year deputations would 
stream in from the provinces clamouring for justice against 
the oppressor, and, backed by a sentimental public, the knights 
would be relentless in exacting it ! The excellent intentions 
of a class or a party normally last just so long as they main- 
tain it in power. This case was no exception to the rule. 
Many Conservatives had long ago admitted that it was 
necessary to improve the conditions of justice and to repress 
abuses ; yet, in their apprehension lest that justice might 
be exercised upon themselves, they were not content with 
opposing Cotta's proposed legislation ; they even undertook 
the rescue of the unfortunate Verres, whose attack and con- 
demnation seemed likely to involve the whole party in 
disaster. It was decided to run Conservative candidates for 
all the more important offices and to employ every means for 
securing their success. Quintus Hortensius, the celebrated 
lawyer, and Quintus Metellus, were to stand for the Consulship, 
and Marcus Metellus, brother of Quintus and of Lucius, the 
Governor of Sicily, for the Praetorship. These candidates and 

* Cic, in Verr., A. ii. 2, Ixxi. 174; ii. 2, xcvi. 33. See Lange, E. A., 
iii. 193. 


other leading members of the nobility, including Caius Scri- 70 b.c. 
bonius Curio, soon came to terms with Verres. Verres engaged 
to use all his influence on their behalf during the election, while 
Hortensius promised to undertake his defence. Quintus and 
Marcus Metellus wrote to their brother Lucius in Sicily asking 
him to hush up the evidence of Verres' misdeeds. If they were 
elected, and the law of Cotta thrown out, they would try to 
postpone the case till the following year ; it would then come 
before a tribunal of Senators presided over, most probably, 
by Marcus Metellus, and Verres would have a Consul for his 

Meanwhile, despite the intrigues of j^Metellus,'?' Cicero^had New dissen- 
been dihgently pursuing his enquiries, and when he returned pSSfpey'and" 
at the date fixed, about the end of April, he brought with him Crassus. 
a pile of documentary evidence. But his case did not at once 
come on for hearing. He had to wait tiU the end of another 
suit brought against the Governor of Macedonia, put up or, 
at the least, prolonged, to cause the postponement of his own. 
To Cicero himself this delay was by no means inconvenient ; 
for it left him free to devote himself to his approaching candi- 
dature for the jiEdileship. Now that the case against Verres 
had been put off, and Cotta's BiU blocked by Conservative 
opposition, the forces of both parties should have been con- 
centrated upon the elections, which were to take place, as 
usual, about the middle of the year. Unfortunately, when 
Cicero returned from Sicily, the democratic party was dis- 
tracted, within a few months of its first successes, by unhappy 
divisions within its own ranks. The quarrel between the two 
Consuls had broken out afresh. 

The ancient historians give us Httle information as to the Character and 
motives and details of a difference which was to be momentous l^mpe^ " 
in its effects. It is probable that it was brought about by the 
ambitions of Pompey. Pompey was a perfect specimen of the 
man of talent, who, though himself devoid of any real origin- 
ality or creative power, is quick to pick up and to profit by 
new ideas brought vsdthin his reach by men of genius. If he 
had been sent to the East in the place of LucuUus, he would never 
have ventured to stake aU upon the invasion of Pontus, but 
would have preferred to proceed with the leisurely prudence 
traditional among Roman generals. But now, after the amaz- 
ing successes of LucuUus, his imagination suddenly awoke to aU 
that these conquests had to teach him. He saw that the timid 
* Ciccotti, P. V„ 155. 


70 B.C. Eastern policy of the Senate was unnecessary and incongruous, 
that the great Asiatic monarchies, so imposing to the outside 
observer, were helpless and invertebrate organisms, which 
could easily be mastered by energetic aggression ; and that the 
adoption of such a poUcy would lay open a new and wealthy 
field to the administrators and financiers of Italy, and provide 
soldiers and politicians with new sources of wealth, influence 
and renown. He had therefore conceived the idea of procuring 
an appointment in the East as pro-Consul,* in the place of 
LuculluSjto take his share of gleaning in the field where LucuUus 
had been working for the last four years. In this way he would 
ensure for his party the direction and exploitation of the 
new Eastern policy devised by LucuUus, to the importance of 
which the Conservatives still seemed so strangely bUnd. 
Demoraiisa- Unfortunately Crassus, always jealous of his colleague, once 
Democrat^ more took delight in barring his advance. So vigorously did 
he defend the foreign poHcy of LucuUus, which was identified, 
of course, with the Conservative party, that the two Consuls 
were soon at variance on aU matters of policy.t A quarrel of 
this nature could not but be disastrous for the popular party, 
which was only just recovering" its strength after a long period 
of persecution and lacked ^the coherent [organisation which 
rendered the Conservatives, despite aU their mishaps, stiU a 
powerful fighting force both in supporters and money. It was, 
in fact, so greatly demorahsed by the dissensions of its leaders 
that aU political operations came to a standstiU. Towards 
the middle of the year Cotta was left to defend his law by him- 
self, and in the elections for 69 the Conservative candidates 
were allowed to secure the Consulship and Marcus MeteUus 
the Prsetorship. These were happy auguries of acquittal 
for Verres. With the connivance of his patrons, he now 
attempted to use Hortensius and MeteUus to intimidate the 
SiciUan ambassadors and induce them to withdraw from their 
accusation, at the same time using aU the money at his command 
to procure the defeat of Cicero's candidature for the .lEdileship. 
Cicero's failure would have been a final blow to the Sicilians, 
who were already disquieted by the result of the Consular 
elections ; and the whole trial would probably have been over 
after a hearing of a few days. J 

The disastrous impression caused by the elections roused 
Pompey and the Democratic chiefs out of their torpor, and 

* Mommsen, R. G., iii. 106. f Pint., Pomp., 22. 

J Cic, in Verr., A., i. 9. 


Cicero, energetically supported by the party, was elected to 70 b.c. 
the ^dileship. Thanks to hard work and to a few skilful 
concessions, the law of Cotta, too, was finally approved ; in The impending 
the form in which it became law the judges were to be chosen '"*'■ 
not from amongst the knights only, but from amongst the 
Senators, the knights and the richer plebeians.* The Sicilians 
were thus encouraged to hold firm, and the arrangements for 
the prosecution of Verres, the first hearing of which was fixed 
for August 5, were vigorously pushed forward. Soon nothing 
else was talked of in Rome and all over Italy but the approach- 
ing trial. Men thought of it as they might have thought of a 
gladiatorial spectacle, where under the eyes of a public eager 
for sensations, a young and rising lawyer was to fight over the 
body of a pro-Praetor with the prince of Roman orators, while 
they sat by and watched all the tricks and resources of Forum 
eloquence displayed with relentless ingenuity by each of the 
combatants. Gossip and prophecy flowed fast and full. Some 
knew that attempts would be made to tamper with the judges 
designated by lot. Others spoke of overpowering evidence 
collected in SicUy which would be held in reserve till the 
crowning moment. More sceptical observers declared that, 
like so many other foxes previously caught in the same trap, 
Verres too would escape without even leaving his tail behind 
him. All the amateurs of oratorical warfare were impatient 
to be present at the battle of eloquence between Cicero and 
Hortensius. Cicero, said those who pretended to experience 
in these matters, was a young man of great erudition and 
brilliant gifts, but he would sorely miss the experience of his 
distinguished opponent. 

Meanwhile both sides completed their preparations for the Tactics of the 
great conflict. Cicero, whose imagination was raised by the **" p^i^'ss- 
universal excitement to a pitch of unusual lucidity, felt in- 
stinctively that this was to be a decisive moment in his career. 
He gave up the idea of fighting opponents of such skill and 
influence with the customary weapons of his profession, realis- 
ing that, vfith the public already prepossessed in his favour, 
the bludgeon would serve him better than the rapier. It 
would be best, he saw, to abandon dialectics and dexterities 
for a bold and slashing onslaught, and to endeavour to take the 
feelings of the public by storm through some amazing and 
unexpected sensation. He took pains therefore to arrange his 
material in the manner most calculated to make an impression 

* Cic, in Verr., A., ii. 5, Ixix. 178. 




70 B.C. upon the crowd, preparing, together with each group of evi- 
dence, a brief but clear and trenchant address.* Verres and 
his friends, on the other hand, elated by their success at the 
elections, attempted to circumvent and cajole the witnesses, 
arranging, for instance, to have panegyrics of the accused sent 
up from all the towns of Sicily. They also devised ingenious 
tactics against the fury and impatience of the prosecution, by 
endeavouring to make the proceedings drag on until August 16, 
the date when all hearings would be suspended for a fortnight 
to celebrate the games promised by Pompey ever since the war 
against Sertorius. They would then continue the same 
manoeuvre until the case was postponed into the following year. 
There was considerable prospect of their success, for there were 
several legal holidays during the remaining months of the year 
— from September 4 to 19 for the Roman Games, from October 
26 to November 4 for the Games of Victory, and from November 
4 to 17 for the Plebeian Games.-j" 
The trial of On the morning of August 4, when the hearing began, a 

huge crowd was collected in the Forum, round the seats set 
apart for the judges, the witnesses, and the parties to the 
action. Verres appeared upon the scene with Hortensius, 
attended by many of the greatest personages in Rome and full 
of confidence in the scheme so carefuUy elaborated with his 
advocate. Unfortunately for him, his case was not simply 
an ordinary suit for extortion ; it was closely bound up with the 
struggle of pohtical parties, and Cicero had formed a better 
estimate than Hortensius of the state of general opinion. When 
the documents and evidence skilfully drawn up by the prose- 
cution were laid bare before the pubUc, when the long tale of 
sufferings endured by the people of Sicily was recited and exag^ 
gerated in the Forum by a succession of passionate and eloquent 
witnesses, the tide of indignation that had been slowly gather- 
ing for a decade in all classes of the community against Sulla, 
the reaction and the Conservative cabal, suddenly burst the 
flood gates. Some of the more pathetic incidents in the evi- 
dence even moved the public to tears ; others provoked 
murmurs of disgust ; others drove them to cries of inarticulate 
rage. At the end of each hearing the revelations made during 
the day were circulated broadcast through the city, and thus, 
with changes and accretions as they passed from mouth to 
mouth, they roused the entire population to sympathetic 
interest. The next day a still greater crowd would press 
* Ciccotti, P. v., 176 flf. f Id., 17s ff. 


round the Forum, hoping to catch something of the tale of 7° ^•^• 
horrors, and crying out in wild indignation, without under- 
standing a word, when it perceived the growing excitement 
of those who stood nearer to the tribunal. One day when a 
witness told how Verres had crucified a Roman citizen who had 
in vain made the appeal : Civis Romanus Sum, the audience was 
stirred to such ungovernable fury that, if the Prsetor had not 
immediately adjourned the hearing, Verres would have been 
lynched in the open Forum. It was indeed no single individual 
who was on his trial ; it was a party, a system of government, 
a whole epoch, come to judgment. The public conscience, 
so long bound down to a hateful silence, sought relief at last 
by pouring out all its long-stored wrrath on the miserable pro- 
Prxtor whom accident had delivered to its hatred, and made 
him expiate in his single person, not only his own private 
sins but all the crimes of Sulla and his detested accomplices. 
So overwhelming was the fury of the people that Verres and 
his friends, taken utterly by surprise, felt their case to be hope- 
less and lost heart. For thirteen days they attempted to stem 
the violence of the current : day by day they watched it rising 
higher. The moment came when they realised that no judges 
could dare to acquit the accused. On the fourteenth day the 
sitting was suspended. Verres, to save a part at least of his 
fortune, abandoned the conflict and went into voluntary 
exUe.* He disappeared for ever from the presence and the 
memory of his countrymen ; while Cicero, now become one 
of the chief men in Rome, went fast and far on the path of 
renown. Neither of the two men suspected, as they parted 
to pursue these different destinies, that the roads they took 
would bring them together once again, twenty-seven years 
later, on the brink of the same abyss. 

While these events were taking place in Italy, LucuUus had Lucuiius in 
gone to spend the winter of the year 71 in the province of Asia, 
of which he had been made Governor. He found it ruined 
by the exactions that the Italian financiers, in their wanton 
impatience for quick profits, had inflicted upon the population. 
If Lucuiius had become in many respects a changed man, he 
still preserved the old aversion of an hereditary aristocrat for 
the whole breed of financiers, and he now displayed his usual 
impetuosity in a courageous attempt to renew the policy of 
Rutilius Rufus. He proceeded to take measures to check the 
cupidity of the tax-farmers, without in the least reflecting, 
* Ciccotti, P. v., 171-194. 

70 B.C. 

The kingdom 
of Armenia. 

Capture of 
Amasia, and 


in the self-confidence of temporary omnipotence, what power- 
ful enemies his magnanimity would provoke.* Moreover, 
he was now revolving a stiU grander and more ambitious design 
— nothing less than the invasion and conquest of the whole 
monarchy of Tigranes, King of Armenia and son-in-law and 
protector of Mithridates. Thanks to the weakness of Roman 
policy during the last half century, and latterly also to the 
distractions of the Bithynian War and the conquest of Pontus, 
Tigranes had been able, during the last fifteen years, to enlarge 
his Empire in all directions by the methods of conquest and 
alliance. His power now extended as far North as the Caucasus, 
where his rule was acknowledged by the semi-barbarous popu- 
lations of the Albanians and Iberians ; while on the South, 
East and West he had conquered almost the whole Empire 
of the Seleucids, in CiUcia, Syria and Phoenicia, and robbed 
the Parthians of several of their provinces by the submis- 
sion of the Satraps of Great Media, Media Atropatene and 

It was against this unwieldy and ill-assorted Empire that 
Lucullus now intended to direct his newly discovered im- 
perialism. But before invading Armenia, he wished first to 
secure himself against the enemy in his rear by completing 
the conquest of Pontus. Sending his brother-in-law, Appius 
Claudius, to demand from Tigranes the surrender of Mithri- 
dates,! he had left in the spring of 70 to continue the siege 
of Sinope and Amasia. He was certain that Tigranes would 
refuse his demand and thus provide him with a pretext 
for a declaration of war. Sinope and Amasia surrendered 
in the autumn with a large number of prisoners, and 
Lucullus was for once able to put some check upon the 
brutahty of his soldiers. § A worse fate had befallen 
Heraclea in the previous spring. The stupid and ferocious 
Cotta had besieged it by land, while Triarius, who was 
less stupid but still more ferocious, besieged it by sea. 
When the town finally capitulated, they pillaged houses 
and temples without mercy, ransacking all their store of 
treasure ; massacred or reduced to slavery the entire popula- 
tion and even took away the far-famed statue of Heracles, 
with its arrows of solid gold. They had then set fire to the 
towTi and, while the smoke mounted to the sky, the Roman 

* Plut., Luc, 20. 

t Reinach, M. E., 310 B. ; Strabo, xi. 14, 15 (532). 

t Plut., Luc, 21. § Reinach, M. E., 356. 


ships sailed out of port so crammed with booty that several 70 b.c. 
foundered on the voyage.* 

Meanwhile a defiant answer had arrived from Tigranes. Tigranes re- 
Influenced it appears, by a party among his councillors who lucoUus' de- 
feared a possible rival in Mithridates, the King of Armenia man"'*- 
had been unwilling at first to receive him, and had consigned 
him to honorary banishment in a distant fortress ; but he had 
no intention of yielding to the wishes of a Roman general or 
of descending to the position of a subject monarch. There 
was now a pretext for invasion. In the spring of 69 the 
campaign was to begin. 

* Memnon, 51-2. 



Crisis in the popular party towards the end of the year 70 — 
Enmity between Crassus and Pompey — Lucullus invades the 
kingdom of Armenia — Battle of the Tigris — Lucullus and 
Alexander the Great — ^The budget of the Roman Republic — 
The passion for speculation in Italy — ^The abuse of credit — 
General indebtedness — The first appearance of the new 
demagogues — Pompey, the financiers and the demagogues 
combine against Lucullus — ^LucuUus intends to march into 
Persia — First mutiny of his legions. 

Crisis iu tiie MEANWHILE at Rome the year 70 had ended unfavourably for 
popular party, ^.j^g popular party. Pompey had been so much disconcerted 
and exasperated hy the intrigues of Crassus, that he had given 
up the idea of replacing LucuUus and declared that at the end 
of his Consulship he would retire into private life without 
accepting a province.* Crassus, delighted to have interfered 
with Pompey's calculations, had also preferred to stay at 
Rome, knowing that a provincial governorship would be far 
less lucrative than a continuance of his speculations. The 
Conservatives were somewhat reassured by Pompey's discom- 
fiture, more particularly as nearly all the offices were in the 
hands of their nominees. For the rest, since the defeat of 
Mithridates, there was peace within the Empire. The only 
war on hand for the moment was that against the Cretan 
pirates who, after the defeat of Marcus Antonius, had in vain 
sent ambassadors to Rome to sue for peace.f 
Lucullus in- Lucullus alone allowed himself no rest. In the spring of 

69 he set out without authorisation from home on the hazardous 
adventure of the conquest of Armenia, with two legions and 
/some bodies of Asiatic auxiliaries, mostly Galatians and Thra- 

* Velleius, 3-31. 
t App., Sic, vi. I. 



dans, scarcely 20,000 men in all,* and with only the vaguest 69 b.c. 
information about the geography of the country. Mithridates 
and Tigranes, who had patched up their quarrel when they 
realised the intentions of LucuUus, had prepared a strong army 
to meet him. If in the conquest of Pontus, LucuUus had given 
a rather liberal interpretation to the orders of the Senate, his 
invasion of Armenia marks the definite inauguration, at his 
own risk, of a policy of personal initiative. Halting only by 
night and allowing his army no breathing space, he followed the 
great caravan route across Melitene, descended to the Euphrates, 
crossed the river and marched upon Tigranocerta. Here he 
inflicted so signal a defeat upon the army of the Armenian 
general Mitrobarzanes that Tigranes retired hastily to the 
north of Armenia, leaving behind him at Tigranocerta a general 
in charge of his treasure and his harem.f LucuUus now laid 
siege to Tigranocerta. Tigranes soon recovered from his alarm, 
changed his tactics, and advanced, as LucuUus had expected,! 
with an army of 80,000 men,§ to reUeve the city, without even 
awaiting Mithridates, who was on his way to join him with a 
large force of cavalry. LucuUus at once adopted the right 
manoeuvre for a besieging general against a reUeving force ; he left 
6,000 soldiers in the trenches under the command of Murena,|J 
and marched to meet the second army with about 14,000 men, 
horse and foot. When the two forces came in sight of one 
another on opposite sides of the Tigris, Tigranes and his staff, 
with the exception of a few old campaigners who knew the 
Roman temper, expected that in accordance with the routine 
of their profession the enemy would retire before an army five 
times their number. But LucuUus, his natural daring height- 
ened by victory, was not the man to falter. One morning 
he forded the Tigris, threw his smaU army upon the Armenians 
like a pack of mastiffs upon a huge flock of sheep, and broke 
them up into such hopeless confusion, that the king himself 
was glad to escape with an escort of about a hundred and fifty 
horse. Having thus rid himself of Tigranes, LucuUus returned 
to the siege of Tigranocerta, which surrendered soon after- 
wards . ' 

* See the jndicious criticisms of Reinach, M. E., 358, n. i, on the 
figures given by Plutarch, Luc, 24, and App., Mithr., 84. 

t#Plut., Luc, 24-25. t id., 26. 

§_lReinach, M. E., 360, is right in following Memnon, 57, who gives 
the'lowest estimate. 

l|*Plut., Luc., 27- 

I . M 


Lucullus and 

^a, 000,000.] 

Lucullus and 


In the elation of this signal success, Lucullus gave a sudden 
revelation of the generous instincts of his nature, which had 
been eclipsed and almost extinguished by the morbid impatience 
of his ambition, and the tension at which he had lived during 
the last few years. He seems to have desired to show, by some 
act of striking magnanimity, his respectful admiration for 
Hellenic culture. The vassals of Tigranes who surrendered to 
Lucullus were treated with clemency ; Antiochus Asiaticus 
was recognised as King of Syria; the wives and property 
of all the Greeks in Tigranocerta were scrupulously respected ; 
and the many Greek and barbarian settlers whom Tigranes 
had forcibly deported to people his capital were sent back 
to their native countries. At the same time he recognised 
that for once his legions had a right to a part of the 
8000 talents which he found in the royal treasury and of 
the other 2700 talents which he made by the sale of loot, 
while in addition, as an agreeable surprise after the hardships 
of the campaign, each soldier received a personal present of 
800 drachmae. The army was then sent into winter quarters 
in Gordiene. In this delightful country Lucullus, now master 
of the Armenian provinces south of the Tigris, spent the 
winter months dreaming of still grander exploits for the follow- 
ing year, when he would revive the adventures of Alexander the 
Great, invade Persia and conquer the Parthians, to whom he 
had already sent an embassy to dissuade them from an alliance 
with Tigranes, 

The headstrong Senator who, amid the petty intrigues of a 
frivolous aristocracy at Rome, had painfully secured for himself 
the command of a small mountain province, and who had dis- 
embarked in Asia at the head of an insignificant and hastily 
trained army — the last expiring effort, as many thought, of a 
decaying Empire — had now, within six years, and with no addi- 
tion to his forces, become a worthy rival or successor to Alex- 
ander himself. Bold, untiring, and unwaveringly self-confident, 
never an instant in hesitation, acting always on his own res- 
ponsibility and as if there were no home government to be 
considered, he seemed to know no obstacle that could block 
his triumphal advance. Always on the march, whether over 
the plains of Syria and Cilicia or through the snowy defiles 
of Taurus, he would face armies five times as numerous as his 
own, and set out on the morrow of victory upon some new 
and still more hazardous enterprise as though he needed no 
repose and had no vision of the last limit of his ambition. 


After ransacking store upon store of Oriental treasure, he yet 69 b.c. 
enjoyed playing the part of the great patron of Hellenism, 
and playing it in his own characteristic fashion by a capricious 
extravagance of generosity unparalleled in the military history 
of Rome. 

Now that the superstitious populace of the East revered him The import of 
almost as a god, Italy might surely have been expected to admire ij^^" "*" 
him as the creator of the new imperialism. But the mysterious 
demon of adventure and unrest, which was to grant LucuUus 
and the other great spirits of his generation no peace till they 
had left an enduring mark in the records of humanity, racked 
thousands of their humbler fellow countrymen also. Italy 
was indeed just entering upon a grave economic crisis, 
pregnant with great issues for her future development. At 
this moment indeed there was a great abundance of money 
throughout the country. In addition to the stores accu- 
mulated by preceding generals, there were new masses of 
treasure, won in the war or as interest on the booty previously 
acquired ; there was the capital that Marcus LucuUus had 
brought back from the pillage of Thracian villages or Greek 
towns on the Black Sea ; that sent home by his brother Lucius ; 
the interest on capital let out at usury or invested in land and 
buildings in different parts of the Empire ; loot that private 
soldiers and officers had brought home on their return from 
active service, and finally the tribute paid into the State 
Treasury. The Republic had at that time an annual budget 
of 50 million drachmae.* Calculating a ratio of 15 to i between 
silver and gold (which is that which subsisted in Europe previous 
to the last fall in silver), this would mean a total of 
over ,^1,500,000, the greater part of which came from the 
provinces .t 

But the demand for money was increasing even more rapidly 
than the supply. It was needed, and in ever-increasing 
quantities, to buy from all parts of the Empire the corn neces- 

* Plut., Pomp., 45. 

t The relation seems, however, to have been more favourable to 
silver, perhaps ordinarily 12 : i. This would make the corresponding 
sum even greater. But we ought also to make allowance for the 
greater value of the precious metals in antiquity, which it is very 
difficult to reckon. Yet, even if we quadruple the figures in value, 
making them equal to ;£'6,ooo,ooo of our money, the budget of the 
greatest Empire in antiquity still remains less than that of one of 
the wealthier small States of modern Europe, such as Holland, 
Switzerland or Belgium. This should help us to realise the com- 
parative poverty of the ancient world. 



69 B.C. sary to feed the metropolis. It was needed for military pre- 
parations, and to maintain the armies of Spain, Macedonia 
Land specnia- and Narbonese Gaul. It was needed for loans to private 
individuals, to cities, and to foreign sovereigns, for the satis- 
faction of the growing taste for luxury among all classes, and 
above all, and in enormous sums, for speculation, which was 
now beginning to infect the pubhc with the gambling spirit 
in every part of Italy. Within the last few years the com- 
mercial movement which originated in the re-estabHshment 
of order after the Revolution had continued on its course vnth 
ever-increasing velocity. Men and women, nobles and 
plebeians, rich capitalists and country landowners, small 
merchants, artisans and freedmen, all excited by the wildest 
and most illusory expectations, were engaged in a wild scramble 
for the sale and purchase of the soil of Italy. This sudden 
mania for land speculation was, in the main, the result of three 
causes. It was due, firstly, to the law of Spurius Thorius, 
which, by converting a large part of the soil into private 
property, had increased the amount of land to be bought and 
sold ; secondly, to the commercial spirit which had been 
growing steadily for the last century and a half, and finally 
to the conferment of citizen rights upon aU the Italians. An 
Italian now only needed the presence of seven Roman citizens 
to be able to buy and sell land in Italy by the method of 
mancipatio. He could buy in quantities as he bought corn, 
not buying such and such an estate with such and such bounda- 
ries, but so many acres of land in a particular district.* Many 
people bought and sold land as rapidly as in Austraha to-day, 
speculating on the rise and fall of prices. Others bought slaves 
capable of being trained into good cultivators, and planted 
vines, olives and fruit trees to compete with the produce of the 
East. But as the great majority of speculators were not in 
possession of sufficient capital to gamble with, they hastened to 
employ and, of course, to abuse the expedient of the mortgage, 
which had recently been introduqed from Greece, and greatly 
facilitated the giving of credit .f One man who had bought 
a piece of land mortgaged it to buy slaves and plant vines. 
Another, who possessed a site in a town, mortgaged it to 
raise money to build on it. Others mortgaged their lands to 
invest sums in the provinces, either in Asia or in Africa, to 

* Weber. R. A. G., 98 fi. 

t Wlassak, Edict and Klageform, p. 136. Cf. Dareste, N. R. H. D., 
1877, p. 171. 


private individuals, or cities, or sovereigns, hoping that the 69 b.c. 
venture would be profitable in the long run.* No one felt 
any disquietude at the rapid rise which was simultaneously- 
taking place in the price of money. After having lightly 
contracted one debt to improve conditions of cultivation, 
to build a house, and Hve in great style, a man would as 
Kghtly incur a second to pay off the excessive interest on the 
first, thus sinking deeper and deeper into debt, always in the 
hope of eventually repaying in full, and risking, of course, 
the loss of everything that he had.f There was a surprising 
number of Italians who found themselves in this predicament.! 
On the other hand, any one who was in possession of capital 
and knew how to lay it out with skiU, was of course in a position 
to amass fabulous wealth. 

No one used his opportunities more successfully than Crassus, Speculations 
who devoted all his energy to this one object. He did not, like so ° '^"'" 
many of his less cautious contemporaries, buy up land at absurdly 
high prices in the expectation that it would rise stiU further in 
value. His favourite speculation was to assist speculators who 
had embarked on an enterprise without the necessary capital. 
For instance, he bought up a large number of slaves in the 
East, choosing vrith care those who understood the art of build- 
ing, such as engineers, architects, and master masons. He then 
established in his house a regular school to teach the art of 
masonry to young slaves, and hired these out to small buUders 
who were too poor to buy them out of their own pocket. Another 
new source of income which he tapped proved exceedingly 
lucrative. Since the houses at Rome were mostly buUt of 
wood and the .iEdiles had so far neglected to organise efficient 
measures of prevention, fires were at this time exceedingly 
frequent. This suggested to him a very ingenious idea. He 
organised a regular fire brigade from amongst his slaves, and 
established watch stations in every part of Rome. As soon as 

* Cic, Pro Sulla, 20. 

f See the very important passage in Cicero's Catilinarian Orations 
(ii. viii. 18), where there is an admirable description of the economic 
condition of the ItaUan countryside with its numbers of indebted 
proprietors. We know that there was a perfect mania for the new 
methods of cultivation in Italy at this time, and a large part of the 
trouble was due to the keenness to experiment with them. The speech 
was made in 63. It is a justifiable assumption that the development 
had begun by 68. 

J See in Hut., Crass., 2, the interesting remark of Crassus on the 
subject of house and land speculations at Rome. Cf. Sail., Cat., ii. 16 ; 
Pint., Cic, 10. 


69 B.C. a fire broke out, the watch ran to give notice to the brigade. 
The firemen turned out, but accompanied by a representative 
of Crassus, who bought up, practically for nothing, the house 
which was on fire, and sometimes all the neighbouring houses 
which happened to be threatened as well. The bargain once 
concluded, he had the fire put out and the house re-built. 
In this way he secured possession of a large number of houses 
at a trifling cost, and became one of the largest landlords at 
Rome both in houses and land, which he was then able, of 
course, to exchange, to sell and to buy up again almost as he 
chose.* Having become in this way one of the richest, if not 
the richest, man in Rome, his power steadily increasing with 
every rise in the price of money, Crassus soon became a domin- 
ating figure in the Senate and the electorate, and indeed among 
all classes of the community. Behind him he had a whole 
troop or army of assistants, administrators and secretaries, 
and amongst the innumerable names that figured in his ledgers 
were tax-farmers and merchants, builders to whom he had lent 
slaves, numberless persons who were tenants of his houses, and 
even Senators to whom he had made private advances. 
Re-emergence This growing embarrassment gradually brought on a finan- 
Question!^'* cial depression, which reacted in its turn upon politics. The 
popular movement became more violent and assumed a 
social rather than a political form — no uncommon develop- 
ment in a democracy where there are glaring inequalities in 
the distribution of wealth. There was no more enthusiasm for 
the continuance of the constitutional reforms which had been 
so hopefuUy undertaken in 70. The question which had 
stirred the passions of Italy for an entire decade now scarcely 
excited a spark of interest. The Democratic party seemed to 
have relapsed into its old weakness and disorder. 
Disappearance It lacked both programme and leaders. Crassus, who was 
cratic leaders, now completely out of touch with Pompey, had re-entered 
the ranks of the Conservatives, with whom he now habitually 
acted. Pompey scarcely showed himself in public, seldom came 
down to the Forum to plead and admitted only a small number 
of intimates to the privilege of his friendship.t Caesar, for his 
part, having nothing better to do in this period of political 
truce, was profiting by the relations of his family vnih the 
high capitalist bourgeoisie to run into debt, and attempting 
to court popularity with the people by his prodigal expen- 
diture, his winning manners, his persuasive eloquence, and 
* Plut., Crass., 2. f Plut., Pomp., 23. 


any ingenious and daring stroke which was calculated to 69 b.c. 
mpress the popular fancy. Knowing, for instance, that 
whatever opinions the proletariat might profess it would 
always preserve a lurking reverence for illustrious descent, 
he was no longer content to be a mere nephew of Marius, 
but claimed to be descended on his father's side from the King 
Ancus Martius and on his mother's from the goddess Venus 
herself. This was hardly perhaps a very exalted form of activity, 
but for the moment there seemed nothing better to do. 

But the luU was more apparent than real. If Pompey The Tribunes' 
was affecting to be tired of politics, his silence and reserve t|aUist° 
were only adopted to make the people feel his loss. He LucnUus. 
was determined to have his revenge upon Crassus and the 
Conservatives, and to be sent, he cared not how, to replace 
LucuUus in the East. As he had nothing more to hope from 
the Senate, where Crassus was supreme, he was secretly maturing 
a far-reaching scheme which would force the government to 
recall Lucullus and put him in his place. The movement was 
inaugurated in 69 by a skilful agitation among all classes of the 
community. Pompey's share in the campaign cannot be fixed 
with certainty. It is probable that he used his influence to 
back the widespread complaints against LucuUus' provincial 
reforms, trying to win over the financiers by pledging himself 
to their abolition. Of his activity in other directions we can 
speak vnth more assurance. There is no doubt that it was 
Pompey who was the soul of the agitation set on foot at this 
time by the Tribunes of the people, who employed against his 
rival every artifice of popular insinuation and invective. It 
is never difficult to play upon the passions of the mob at a 
period of commercial depression. The Tribunes harped 
steadily on the same teUing refrain. At a moment when 
thousands in Italy were on the verge of starvation or bank- 
ruptcy, a small knot of millionaires was quietly appropriating 
enormous masses of booty which belonged by rights to the State, 
that is to all the citizens.* They directed their most venomous 
shafts against Lucullus, who was just now conducting the most 
lucrative campaign of aU. The public listened gladly to their 
onslaughts. If a few rich and eminent citizens testified to 
their admiration according to a growing custom, particularly 
among bachelors, by leaving him substantial bequests at their 
deathjt the poor and ignorant populace gave credence to every 

• Cf. Cic, De Leg. Agr., i. iv. 12 ; ii. xxii. 59. 
t Cic, Pro Flac, xxxiv. 85. 


69 B.C. rumour circulated by' his enemies about the treasures which 
he was sending home from the East. Men even went so far 
as to expend pity on the Kings of Armenia and the Orient 
whom he preferred to rob, so it was said, in order to fill his 
own purse rather than carry on regular warfare and execute 
the orders of the Senate. Thus it came to be thought that 
his Eastern command had already lasted too long.* After the 
battle of Tigranocerta he was even accused by common report 
of having omitted to pursue Tigranes simply in order to 
prolong the war and keep open opportunities for plunder.f 
Some almost went so far as to reproach the Senate for not check- 
ing him midway in his career of victory. 
Lucuiius de- Far away in the interior of Asia, LucuUus gave Httle heed to 
governorship an agitation, which, had it been what it seemed, he might 
of Asia. safely have ignored. But behind the trumpets of the Tribunes 

and the shouting of the populace Pompey and the financiers 
lay securely entrenched. It was a powerful coalition ; and, 
with pubHc opinion to back it up, it became irresistible. In 
the course of the year 69, although LucuUus was strongly 
supported in the Senate by Crassus and the Conservatives, 
the Senate was compelled by an angry public and the intrigues 
of the financiers to take some action. Desirous to do the least 
possible injury to LucuUus whilst removing the most obvious 
of the capitaUst grievances, it deprived LucuUus of the govern- 
ment of the province of Asia for the year 68, entrusting it 
instead to a pro-Praetor.J This was the recompense of a 
grateful country for his victories of the preceding year. 
Fjrst^revott of But Pompey was stiU unsatisfied. It was not long before 
he found supporters on whom he had scarcely reckoned in 
the soldiers of LucuUus themselves. LucuUus was now ready 
for his great expedition into Persia. But when in the spring 
of 68 his subordinate Sornatius received orders to join his 
general for the march upon Ctesiphon the legions, which 
had been wintering in Pontus, refused to obey.§ The old 
fashioned martinet had succeeded in exhausting the patience 

* Plut., Luc, 24 and 33. 

t Dion, xxxvi. 330, fr. 2 (Gros). 

j The year 68 is a conjecture, but itj^seems more probable than 
69, which is Reinach's view (M. E., 374), since according to Dion 
(xxxvi. 330, fr. 2, Gros), the diminution of his authority took place after 
the battle of Tigranocerta. A second diminution took place in the 
following year with the appointment of Q. MarciusRex to the governor- 
ship of Cilicia. Thus Lucullus's fall was brought about gradually, 
as is only natural in view of his powerful position. 

§ Reinach, M. E., 366. 

the legions. 


of his soldiers, who were tired of being treated like the legion- 68 b.c. 
aries of a Cincinnatus or a Scipio. Their example was infectious. 
Even the forces that LucuUus had with him in Gordiene showed 
a disinclination to be marched into Persia. The unbending 
disciplinarian was for once obliged to yield. Abandoning 
his proposed plan of campaign he decided instead to invade 
Armenia. Little did he suspect that he and his army were 
being slowly enmeshed in the invisible net-work of intrigue 
which was being woven at Rome in the house of Pompey. 
From the moment when Pompey realised the prevalence of 
discontent in the legions of his rival, he set himself to devise 
a terrible vengeance — to compel the recall and degradation 
of Lucullus by provoking a general mutiny among his soldiers. 




Character of 
the young 

The Classical Renaissance at Rome at the time of Caesar — 
Pasiteles — ^The political philosophy of Aristotle — ^The early 
political ideas of Caesar — Caesar's Quaestorship — New campaign 
of Lucullus against Mithridates and Tigranes — Battle of the 
Arsaniades — Publius Clodius in the camp of Lucullus — ^The 
winter in Armenia and second mutiny of the legions — Intrigues 
at Rome against Lucullus — ^The famine of 67 and the pirates_ — 
Pompey Dictator of the Seas — ^The war against the pirates' — 
Recall of Lucullus — Importance of Lucullus' career. 

It was in this same year that Quintus Metellus went out as 
pro-Consul to Crete, and Caesar set foot upon the lowest rung 
of the political ladder, the Quaestorship,* as one of the most 
brilliant among the younger members of the Democratic party. 
His ability no less than his illustrious birth and distinguished 
bearing attracted sympathy in all classes, even amongst the 
less fanatical Conservatives. Our evidence does not enable 
us to judge what were the articles of his pohtical creed at this 
time, but it is fair to infer from his rank, as from his character 
and actions, that they were not such as to alienate him from 
men of moderate and serious opinions in all parties. 

It is indeed impossible to understand Caesar's extraordinary 
career and the singular place which he occupies in the history 
of Rome without keeping continually in view the variety of 
the influences which enriched his strange and many-sided 
individuality. Cssar had not the reckless and impulsive 
temperament, or the unbridled imagination, which so often 
distinguish the leaders of great movements. He was still 
simply an elegant young political aspirant, of winning manners 
and prodigal habits, but hampered by delicate health, keen, 
alert, and ambitious, devoted to politics or any other form 

* Pint., Cffis., 5 ; Veil., ii. 43, 
see Drumaun. G. R., iii. 140. 

4. As regards the date of his election 


of excitement, and excellently endowed for every kind of 68 b.c. 
intellectual activity. Despite all the counter-attractions of 
a fashionable and somewrhat dissolute career, he had been able 
to make himself one of the best speakers of his age.* He 
had devoted himself passionately to the study of astronomy, 
a science which had been virtually discovered about a century 
before this time by Hipparchus, and had since made great 
progress in Asia and Egypt ;t and he was probably also con- 
versant with the Greek treatises on tactics and strategy. But 
the studies in which he was most deeply interested were of a 
more purely aesthetic character ; for he was refining and culti- 
vating his taste in the hope of applying it to the organisation 
of popular festivals and the designing and building of public 
works. In short, he was a man of fine, Uvely and supple intel- 
ligence, who, despite his highstrung nature, could by no means 
be called headstrong or unbalanced. At heart he was an artist 
and a student ; yet so manifold were his gifts and so great 
his skill and energy in applying them, that he might be sure of 
success, if he desired it, in the arena of politics or war. 

Such a man on his entry into politics would naturally feel Hu early 
an affinity for the moderate school of thought ; he would feel "P"^"^ 
this all the more intensely if he lived among the upper classes, 
in surroundings where, through the prevailing scepticism, 
even apart from more selfish motives, the clamour of the dema- 
gogues pa^ed unheard or unheeded. It is not impossible 
therefore to form a more or less probable notion of the opinions 
which a young man of his class would be likely to hold. His 
teachers were, of course, not Romans but Greeks, and the ideas 
viitb. which they inspired him were not of native Italian grovrth. 
We shall most easily detect them by glancing for a moment 
at the great contemporary Renaissance — at the peculiar in- 
fluence exercised by the civilisation of Greece upon the educated 
classes of Csesar's day. 

When the Italians first began to be the pupils of the Greeks, The inflnence 
they looked back over two great ages of HeUenism which had Rom^*" °° 
followed one upon the other and passed away. There was the 
classical Greece of Sophocles and Phidias, Pericles and Plato, 
Demosthenes and Aristotle, with its countless small independent 
city communities, its glorious and turbulent democracies, its 
local schools of art, each characteristic of a separate people, 

* Cic., Bmt., Ixxii. 352 ; Snet., Caes., 55 ; Quint., I. O. x. i. 114 ; 
Tac. de Or,, 21 ; Pint., Caes., 3. 

t Macrob., Sat., i. 16 ; Plin., xviii. 25, 214. 


68 B.C. its dialect-literature, its private schools of metaphysical philo- 
sophy. There was also the cosmopolitan Greece of the great 
bureaucratic kingdoms founded by Alexander in Asia and 
Africa, with their splendid capitals, their common language, 
their court literature, their accumulations of knowledge, their 
royal institutions for the encouragement of learning, their 
taste for special sciences and for the new philosophies of 
conduct, like those of the Stoics and Epicureans. In the 
Rome of Caesar's day, all that was most Hving and expressive 
in this long filiation of ideas found a ready and welcome ac- 
ceptance. The various currents of thought and feeling in 
the two great ages of Hellenism met to foam and clash in the 
whirlpool of an imperial metropoHs. Here the student of 
philosophy found disciples of Plato disputing against the 
followers of Zeno and Epicurus, and the young poet could 
choose between the decadent romanticism of the Alexandrians 
or the strict classical tradition of the great tragedians and 
lyrists. In the field of eloquence, the flowers and mannerisms 
of the Asiatic orators vied with the pure and delicate graces 
of the Attic stylists ; in art, those who found no pleasure in 
the dexterous refinement of the Hellenistic masterpieces of 
Asia and Egypt could reserve a fastidious admiration for the 
archaic sobriety of the age of Phidias. There were scholars 
who spent their lives upon minute researches in some special 
science that had been painfully nurtured amid the soHtudes 
of a royal museum, while others, with a more catholic, if less 
conscientious, application, wandered gaily over the vast range 
of encyclopaedic study opened up by the private teachers of the 
classical period. Within the space of one short generation, 
Rome was Hving, with a feverish intensity, through the suc- 
cessive phases of a civilisation which it had taken five centuries 
to bring to perfection. 

But in the midst of aU these contending and contradictory 
influences, it was the elder Greece which men recalled with 
the sincerest enthusiasm. Demosthenes became the model 
of perfection imitated by every orator ; Cicero loved to asso- 
ciate the florid magnificence of Asiatic eloquence with the old 
classical sobriety of form. The pure artistic tradition of 
Phidias and Polyclitus, of Scopas, Praxiteles and Lysippus, 
estabUshed a lasting supremacy over the Rhodian and other 
Pasiteies. Asiatic schools.* The greatest sculptor of that age, Pasiteles, 
who was a Greek of South Italy and thus a Roman citizen, 
» Overbeck, G. G. P., ii. 424. 

The Classical 


was the head of a school of Neo-attic sculptors who made 68 b.c. 
copies of old classical masterpieces ; he also produced original 
work distinguished by an elegance of form and a simplicity 
of execution which were the fruit of his study of nature and 
the great archaic models. 

It was the same ruUng tendency in another field of operation The" PoUtics" 
that drove the political thinkers of Rome to the study of *"' *'"*°*'*- 
Aristotle. What appealed to them most of aU in the master 
of Alexander was his theory of a government which should 
harmonise the principles of monarchy, aristocracy and de- 
mocracy.* According to this conception, which is one of 
the fundamental political ideas of Aristotle, the people should 
possess sufficient authority to repress the tyranny of govern- 
ment, while the chief power should be in the hands of the rich 
and noble families, who are to exercise it for the public good 
and provide an example of civic virtue. A magistrate may, in 
case of need, be placed in a position of supreme control and 
invested with the powers of a President of the Republic ; 
but such a President must himself be one of the best citizens 
in the State ; he must govern in strict accordance with the 
laws, and must, above all, live in scrupulous observance of them 
himself. The law must, in fact, be regarded as the true, if 
impersonal, sovereign of the Republic. Without this neces- 
sary balance of opposing principles, democracy must inevitably 
degenerate into mob rule, aristocracy into the tyranny of a 
caste, and monarchy into that worst of all possible govern- 
ments, an autocracy of the famiUar Asiatic type, good enough 
perhaps for the emasculated nations of the East, but iU-suited 
to the superior peoples of Greece. These Aristotelean theories, 
which had been taken up again by Polybius in his study of 
Roman society in the age of Scipio iEmilianus, were just now 
coming to be widely held. Their popularity is easily explained. 
They harmonised the anti-monarchical and aristocratic tradi- 
tions of Roman history with the new and encroaching tenden- 
cies of democracy, and brought with them the hope of some 
happy and lasting solution of the political difficulties under 
which the Republic had been suffering for the last half 

It is very probable that Caesar shared the ideas of his class ; CsesMr's dream 
that like most of the nobles who at that time owed allegiance Rome. 

* We shall see in the sequel that the great success of Cicero's De 
Republica in 52 is only explicable on the assumption that these ideas 
had long been popular in educated circles. 


68 B.C. to the Popular party, he was inclined to some pohcy of con- 
ciliation between aristocracy and democracy on the lines of 
the ideas of Aristotle and Polybius : that he dreamed of a free 
and conquering Republic, with an art and a culture like those 
of Athens, but of wider extent and greater powers, a State 
which would be governed by a hereditary aristocracy, vigorous 
in administration but emancipated from class prejudice and 
unfettered by tradition, and which, with the co-operation of 
the middle class, would make Italy the metropolis of the world 
for power and riches, for art and science, for eloiquence and 
His pecnniary But even if he had himself been untouched by these tenden- 
ment"*'^' cies, interest alone would have inclined him to the moderate 
school. His personal fortune was by no means equal to the 
expenses entailed by a political career, and he had for some 
time past been compelled to borrow. As his family had many 
connections with the knights, it was not difficult for him to 
raise the money. Many of the rich tax-farmers were ready 
to lend to the young nephew of Marius, for whom every one 
predicted a great future, even if they felt by no means sure of 
recovering their money. Wealthy capitalists had indeed come 
to regard these loans to politicians as a means of indirect cor- 
ruption, which ingeniously fortified their influence over the 
government whilst they themselves remained aloof from 
political conflicts. But Caesar could only rely upon the power- 
ful financial support of the knights so long as he took care to 
retain their confidence ; and this he would very soon have 
forfeited if he had allowed himself to be involved in the revo- 
lutionary propaganda of the new tribe of demagogues. 
His homage to As a matter of fact his Qusestorship, so long as he remained 
at Rome, was entirely uneventful. He was content wdth 
paying exaggerated homage to the ghost of his proscribed 
uncle, behaviour which might perhaps technically have been 
classed as revolutionary, though in the existing state of opinion, 
it was agreeable to aU classes. It was generally recognised 
that the hero of the Raudine Fields deserved to be set among 
the number of great historical personages, in the place of 
honour from which party hatred had expelled him ; and 
Caesar, who had in the course of this year lost both his wife 
and his aunt, the widow of Marius, was not afraid to carry 
the statue of the great popular general in the funeral proces- 
sion.* Soon afterwards he set out for Spain as Quaestor to 
* Suet., Caes., 6 ; Hut., Caes., 5. 



the Praetor Antistius Vetus,* while Pompey remained at Rome 68 b.c. 
to plan the fall of Lucullus. 

In the spring of this year LucuUus with his usual hardihood Ciodins in the 
had thrown himself into Armenia dragging after him a small, lH^SuIis. 
weary and grumbhng army, largely oiHcered by men who 
were working for Pompey. Amongst those who were sedulously 
kindling the spirit of mutiny was a brother-in-law of Lucullus 
himself, a young aristocrat named Publius Clodius, who was 
suffering from penury and, like so many of his neighbours, 
hoped to redress this disability in the career of politics.t Yet 
not even the suspicion of traitors amongst his own family 
could deter the intrepid LucuUus from endeavouring, wath the 
same small force at his disposal, to eclipse even the daring of 
his earlier conquests. What induced him to attempt so 
incredible a feat ? It is possible that in the flush of unpre- 
cedented success he was blind to the intrigues and disaffection 
all round him. Yet since the records of this last campaign 
are too scanty to elucidate his conduct, it is justifiable 
to offer an alternative suggestion. It may be that suspect- 
ing the treachery of his officers, and not daring to repress it by 
overt measures, LucuUus, always inchned for the bolder course, 
resolved to meet the danger half way, and to stifle the dis- 
content of his army by a new success as striking as the conquest 
of Armenia. 

But if his intentions are conjectural, there is no doubt as Battle of the 
to his movements. He advanced in a series of great marches •'^=*"'a<'«5- 
as far as the plateau of Lake Van, where he came upon the united 
armies of Mitkridates and Tigranes. The two aUies had 
decided to wait in an entrenched camp on a hUl top, on the 
Roman model, untU the early Armenian winter compeUed the 
Roman army to a disastrous retreat. LucuUus, after vainly 
endeavouring to force on an engagement, attempted to draw 
the enemy from his camp by an advance upon Artaxata, the 
Armenian capital. Tigranes, fearing for his harem and his 
treasure, broke up his camp, foUowed the Romans and en- 
deavoured to dispute the passage of the Arsaniades. A battle 
took place on the banks of the river and the Armenian 
King suffered another defeat. J After this victory any other 

* Plut., Caes., S ; Suet., Caes., 7. 

t That Clodius was an instrument of Pompey is clear from Plut., 
Luc, 34, as also from the probabilities of the case. It can only have 
been to serve Pompey that he exposed himself to this risk. Nor was 
he the only case of the kind. 

I Reinach, M. E., 366-7. 


68 B.C. general would have arrested his advance on the approach of 
autumn. But Lucullus, like a passionate gambler who risks 
all that he has won by doubhng the stakes, decided to drive 
home his success by deaUng a sudden blow at the very heart 
of the Empire of Tigranes and marched at once upon Artaxata. 
Intrigues of This daring strategy may partly have been prompted by 

Romef^** the news from Italy. His position at Rome was now indeed 
extremely precarious. The popular agitation, which had been 
almost extinct since the year 70, was once more in full flame. 
The financial depression had excited all the worst passions 
of the mob. Italy was beginning to pass through a period 
of violent ferment in which every act or proposal against the 
rich and powerful was certain to win the popular approval. 
It was easy for Pompey to stir up feeling against a Conservative 
and aristocrat of old lineage like LucuUus, in spite of aU that 
he had achieved for the Roman name. There had been a close 
and exciting struggle over Eastern policy. After much 
painful intriguing, the friends of the pro-Consul had secured 
that the commission entrusted with the organisation of the 
government of Pontus should be composed of his own partisans. 
They had even succeeded in making his brother Marcus one 
of the number. But on another very important point they 
had been forced to give way before Pompey and the public. 
Lucullus had been deprived of the Governorship of Cilicia 
for the following year. It is true, that, as some small com- 
pensation, they had given Cilicia to his brother;- in-law, Quintus 
Marcius Rex, who was Consul for that year, in the hope that 
the conqueror of Pontus would continue to govern the province 
through his relative. But the contest was becoming more and 
more unequal, and in spite of all the efforts of Crassus, Pompey 
and the democrats gained ground daily. Only the capture 
of Artaxata and the final conquest of Armenia by Lucullus 
could have revived the fortunes of his partisans at Rome. 
Second mutiny Although the autumn was now approaching, Lucullus 
troops."""' ordered his troops to advance upon Artaxata. Once more, 
by a supreme application of discipline, he broke down the 
resistance of the legions. The march was begun ; but it did 
not continue. When the Armenian autumn began to give 
warning of the early approach of winter, the soldiers revolted 
and refused to go further. As almost all the officers supported 
the mutiny and many had even helped to excite it, Lucullus 
was forced to yield. By the end of October he was back with 
his army in Mesopotamia. 


This inglorious retreat was the first great success of Pompey's 68 b.c. 
cabal. Unfortunately for Lucullus, it soon entailed others 
of a far more serious character. Once back in Mesopotamia, Re-appearance 
Clodius, resolved to strike home at once, profited by a tem- °' M.thridates. 
porary absence of Lucullus to provoke a general revolt among 
the legions, depicting to them in glowing colours the easy 
conditions of service enjoyed by the troops of Pompey.* 
Lucullus hastily returned and Clodius was forced to fly. But this 
series of petty mutinies had infused new spirit into the enemy 
on whose discouragement they had too confidently reckoned. 
At the end of the year 68, Mithridates suddenly re-appeared 
in Pontus with a small army of 8,000 soldiers, appealed to the 
loyalty of his old subjects, and succeeded in shutting up in 
Cabira the officer whom Lucullus had left in charge. Lucullus 
was anxious to relieve him, but the troops refused to march 
before the spring of (q. It was left to his admiral Triarius 
to bring reinforcements to Pontus by sea and extricate the 
garrison of Cabira. Unfortunately Triarius was not able to 
drive Mithridates out of the country, and was forced to go into 
winter quarters within view of the hostile army, at Gaziura 
in the very heart of Pontus. Meanwhile the soldiers of Lucul- 
lus were engaged in trading and other delights of relaxation, 
as though Asia were in a state of complete tranquiUity, and 
no Roman legionary in the slightest danger.f 

This news appears to have reached Rome towards the end of Pompey and 
the year 68. It only intensified the excitement that was already ""* electorate.^ 
raging. The situation was a very curious one. The various 
parties and cliques were in desperate conflict ; yet none had 
so far succeeded in gaining any definite success. The conse- 
quence was that aU State business was indefinitely delayed ; 
no administrative questions were being decided, and every 
one was in a state of nervous exasperation. The Conservatives 
were grumbling at the turn matters had taken in the East, 
while Pompey and his clique were in no way satisfied with the 
successes they had so far gained. For aU their efforts, Crassus 
stiU remained more powerful than Pompey in the Senate, 
and Pompey did not seem to have improved his chances of 
obtaining for himself the powers wrested from Lucullus. 
It was becoming clear every day that his right policy was to 
appeal directly to the tribes and demand from the people what 
was refused him by the Senate. This would involve gaining his 

* Reinach, M. E., 369 ff. 

t Sail., Hist., 5 fr. 9 (Maurenbrecker) ; Reinach, M. E., 370 ff. 

I N 



6"] B.C. position by one of those skilful election manceuvres which 
the political parties of a generation ago had been in the 
habit of adopting whenever they felt sufficient confidence in 
their powers. But Pompey was probably aware that he could 
not safely reckon upon the success of such an attempt. The 
great mass of the proletariat was certainly on his side ; but it 
was totally without organisation, whereas the Senators and 
the knights had a great influence over the voting. He could 
not therefore be sure that his popularity alone wotdd suffice 
to win him the elections ; and although he used every means 
to increase his influence he did not feel justified in taking the 
risk. It was probably vnth his connivance and on his advice 
that one of his old Quaestors, Caius Cornelius, a man of in- 
tegrity but of very mediocre abiHty, who had been elected 
Tribune of the people for the year 67, proposed two exceedingly 
popular Bills, one a law forbidding Roman citizens to lend 
'money in the provinces, which was intended to allay the finan- 
cial crisis in Italy by stopping the export of capital ; another 
a law taking away from the Senators and bestowing upon the 
people the right of giving dispensations from the observance 
of a law. But all these manceuvres would probably have been 
of Httle use if an unexpected incident had not upset aU calcu- 
lations and given a different direction to the conflicts of 
parties, the intrigues of Pompey and the agitation of the public. 
The change was caused by the outbreak of a terrible famine 
during the winter. 
The famine at Men are always incUned to impute their misfortunes to the 
Rome. misdeeds of others. On this occasion the people threw the 

blame for the famine upon the pirates who intercepted the corn- 
ships on the high seas, upon the Senate and the magistrates 
who had for years been unable to repress them, and finally 
upon LucuUus, whose general Triarius had been sent with a 
fleet into the iEgean, where he had shown his helplessness by 
allowing the pirate Athenodorus to sack Delos under his very 
eyes. The widespread feeling against the Senate and its 
slackness, which had contributed so greatly to the Democratic 
victories of the year 70, now showed itself afresh. In the 
midst of this ferment the two laws proposed by Caius Corne- 
Uus provoked what was almost a miniature civil war. There 
was fighting and bloodshed between armed bands in the Forum. 
It seemed almost like a return to the old days before the Social 
War and the Revolution of Marius. ^ 

Pompey was quick to realise that all questions of home and 


foreign policy must be subordinated to the exigencies of the 67 b.c. 
food supply, and that he had only to appeal to the electors 
on this question to obtain from them any answer he wished, the dictator- 
Renouncing for the moment all schemes of Eastern conquest, seil"'*''* 
he put up one of his supporters, Aulus Gabinius, a man of low 
origin and moderate fortune,* who was then Tribune of the 
people, to propose in the Assembly a bill empowering the 
people to choose, from amongst the Senators of Consular 
rank, a Dictator of the seas to conduct the campaign against 
the pirates. The holder of this new post was to have a fleet 
of 200 ships, a large army, 6,000 talents, 15 lieutenants and 
absolute proconsular authority for three years over the whole 
Mediterranean and its coasts up to fifty miles inland, vrith 
additional powers of recruiting troops and collecting money 
in aU the provinces.t His plan was exceedingly ingenious. 
He hoped that the famished voters would pass the law without 
serious question. If he succeeded in this way in putting an 
end to the famine he would so increase his popularity that 
he would in future be able to dispense with the Senate's rati- 
fication of his schemes, reduce Crassus to insignificance, and 
rely upon the Assembly for the satisfaction of aU his desires, 
even including the powers of LucuUus. The first part of his 
prophecy speedily came true. The Conservatives attempted 
to oppose the project in the fear that Pompey's novel Dictator- 
ship would eventually affect the commands of LucuUus and 
MeteUus. But the fear of starvation had stirred Rome to the 
depths. There were noisy demonstrations in the streets, with 
threats of a revplution if the law was not approved. In the 
end Pompey was entrusted vnth powers even wdder than those 
which Gabinius had originally proposed. He was authorised 
to enrol an army of 120,000 men with 5,000 horse, to form 
a fleet of 500 ships and to nominate 24 subordinate com- 
manders. J 

Caesar, who had lately returned from Spain, was among those Caesar's mar- 
who backed up the proposal of Gabinius. The law was indeed pelf* '" ''™" 
far too popular for him to venture to oppose it. But if he 
was anxious to avoid displeasing the people, he was still more 

* Drumann, G. R., iii. 39. 

t Dion, xxxvi. 21 ; Plut., Pomp., «5 ; App., Mithr., 94 ; Veil., 

Ji. 31. 

X Dion, xxxvi. 22-35 ; Plut., Pomp., 26-7 ; App., Mith., 94. The fi|;ures 
given by these different authorities are not really divergent, as will be 
seen later. There is a real discrepancy about the number of the sub- 
ordinates. App., Mith., 95, and Florus iii. 6, do not agree about their 
names. See Drulmann, G. R., iv., 407 n. 36. 


67 B.C. anxious to make the greatest possible number of friends 
in rich and powerful circles. It was with this object that, 
some time in the last three years, he had married the 
wealthy and influential Pompeia, daughter of Quintus Pom- 
peius Rufus, an aristocrat and ardent reactionary who had 
been killed in 88 by the partisans of Marius, and of Cornelia, 
daughter of Sulla. For the nephew of Marius to marry a grand- 
daughter of Sulla and the daughter of a victim of the popular 
revolution, is a proof of the shortness of political memories 
at Rome ; but it also throws an interesting light on the ambi- 
tions which Caesar was entertaining at this time.* Aristocratic 
marriages were now only regarded as means to maintain or 
to increase political influence. Caesar would probably not 
have married Pompeia if he had not been anxious to ally himself 
with the great Conservative nobility. A wealthy marriage 
of this sort at once raised his credit amongst the knights, 
connected him with many influential Senators, and helped the 
party of Sulla to draw a veil over his origin and the democratic 
incidents of his early career. Thus, if the agreement made in 
70 between the advanced aristocrats and the popular party 
proved to be lasting, Caesar might one day be the nominee 
both of the people and of the better elements among the 
Conservative classes. His marriage was in fact an attempt 
to put into practice the Aristotelian programme of concili,ation 
between the democracy and the nobility. It shows that Caesar 
was at this moment in no way preoccupied by the fresh 
outbreak of hostilities between the Conservatives and the 
popular party, and did not regard it as sufiiciently important 
to impede the gradual process of conciliation between all 
classes and parties which had been going on since the death 
of Sulla. 
Defeat of Meanwhile, at the beginning of the spring of 6"], military 

" operations were again resumed. Lucullus moved to the help 

of Triarius, and Pomp^y set out to recruit his forces. He 
could only beat up a small army in the place of the 120,000 
soldiers allowed him, while, in the neglected condition of 
the Roman Navy the harbours of the allies yielded him no 
more than 270 of the 500 ships which he was assigned.-j- He 

* Plut., Caes., 4 ; Suet., Caes., 6 ; Drumann, G. R., iii., 142, iv., 
311, 314. Drumann is mistaken in thinking that his marriage with 
Pompeia would bring Caesar into closer touch with Pompey. Pomipeia 
and Pompey were not related to one another. See the genealogical 
table given in Drumann's own book. 

t Kromayer, Phil., Ivi. 429 ff., thus ingeniously reconciles the 



distributed them among his numerous subordinates, who were 67 b.c. 
chosen from amongst prominent members of the upper classes 
and the Conservative party,* amongst them Marcus Terentius 
Varro, entrusting each of them with the task of clearing a 
given portion of the Mediterranean. Meanwhile LucuUus 
had ascertained in the course of his march, that Triarius, 
either through defective information or in the desire of winning 
a campaign by himself, had given battle to Mithridates at 
Gaziura and been defeated vnth. great loss.f Lucullus asked 
his brother-in-law Marcius for reinforcements from Cilicia 
and marched rapidly to his assistance. But when he had 
come up with Mithridates, he was unable to force a general 
engagement, or to efface the impression produced by the 
defeat of his subordinate. 

Pompey, on the other hand, was surprisingly successful in Pom^ey quiets 
what was generally considered a very formidable task. In an * *""■ '*' 
impressionable society like that of Rome, and at a time of uni- 
versal excitement, it had been possible to regard the pirates 
as a dangerous adversary. In reality their apparent strength 
was due entirely to the negligence of Rome. The only country 
over which they exercised any effective control was Crete, 
where they had established a sort of military government 
which Quintus MeteUus had been engaged for a year past in 
attacking. Their forces were not numerous and had, since 
the fall of their powerful patron Mithridates, fallen into 
complete disorganisation. The news that a Dictator of the 
seas had been appointed at Rome and was collecting a large 
force against them, soon spread round the Mediterranean coasts 
to add to the discouragement already caused by the annexation 
of Pontus. This impression was only increased by the fate of 
the first captures made by the Dictator. Pompey, who was 
working for a rapid success rather than for a permanent settle- 
ment, made a clever use of the momentary confusion of the 
enemy. After treating the first batches of prisoners with 
excessive severity, he suddenly modified his methods, offered 
a free pardon to all who submitted, and sent them to re-people 
deserted and devastated towns. This policy laid him open 
to grave criticism, for in accordance with Roman law and 
tradition, it was shameful and almost criminal to treat pirates 

discrepancy between Plut., Pomp., 26 and App., Mithr., 94, as to the 
size of Pompey's fleet. 

* App., itlithr., 96 ; Florus, iii. 6 ; Driimann, G. R., iv. 408. 

t App., Mitbr., 89 ; Plut., Luc, 35 ; Cic, Pro Leg. Man., ix. 25. 

6'] B.C. 

The super- 
session of 

Third and 
final mutiny in 


with such clemency. The Conservatives, of course, attempted 
to make capital out of his behaviour. But Pompey, strong in 
the popular support, was only anxious for an immediate victory 
and felt no respect for the traditions of brutality still so dear 
to the nobility. The pirates were reassured by a policy which 
was tantamount to amnesty. Before long they appeared 
spontaneously from all sides to surrender their ships and their 
arms to the Roman generals.* For some time afterwards the 
sea remained comparatively unmolested, and Pompey was 
greeted at Rome as the wonderful hero who had cleared the 
seas in a few weeks. In reality he had accomplished very 
little. As soon as the panic inspired by his Dictatorship had 
passed off, the pirates re-armed their ships and began once 
more to sweep the seas as of old.f 

Meanwhile Lucullus, who had really given the death-blow 
to a mighty monarchy, was on the point of being robbed of 
aU the fruits of his labour. As soon as the news of Triarius' 
defeat reached Rome, the noisy troop of Pompey's partisans 
set to work once more. Gabinius proposed a second bill 
depriving Lucullus of the command of the war against Mithri- 
dates and the provinces of Pontus and Cihcia, and bestowing 
them on the Consul Manius AciHus Glabrio ; at the same time 
the legions of Fimbria were recalled and all who disobeyed 
were threatened with the confiscation of their property. J 
In the face of strong popular demonstrations the Senate had 
for once to let the biU pass. 

LucuUus was now in a terrible dilemma. Marcius, unwilling 
to compromise himself in the cause of his brother-in-law, 
refused to grant him the reinforcements he asked, on the 
pretext that his soldiers were unwilling to march.§ Mean- 
while a rumour spread that Tigranes was moving up with a 
large army to join forces with Mithridates,|| and almost simul- 

* App.,Mithr.,96, gives a brief but accurate judgment on this sham 
war. The ease of the operations is attested by their quickness. See 
Dion, xxxvi. 35, and also Kromayer, Phil., Ivi. 430. Pint., Pomp., 
27-8, gives rather an exaggerated account. 

f Driimann, G. R., iv., 413.x 

j Sallust, Hist., 5, fr. 13 (Maurenbr.) ; App., Mithr., 90. From 
this passage of Appian and from Plut., Luc, 35 (confirmed by Dion, 
xxxvi. 330, fr. 14, Gros), according to which the troops mutinied during 
the march against Tigranes on the ground that LucuUus was no longer 
their general, it appears to me a safe conclusion that this second 
lex Gabinia was voted after the defeat of Triarius, and consequently 
after the first law. Appian is clearly wrong in attributing the whole 
course of events to the Senate. § Sail., Hist., 5, fr. 15 (Maurenbr.). 

II Dion, xxxvi. 330, fr. 14 (Gros). j 


taneously the new pro-Consul of Asia made public the edict (>^ b.c. 
of his recall.* But Lucullus was as yet in no mood to submit. 
Calmly ignoring the Senatorial decree, he proceeded to march 
upon Tigranes, in the hope of surprising him on his way, 
hindering his junction with Mithridates and inflicting upon 
him a defeat that would give a new turn to events. But this 
desperate effort was his last. In the course of the march his 
weary troops broke out into open mutiny, and, relying upon 
the decree of recall, refused to foUow a man who could no 
longer claim to be their general. Lucullus suddenly awoke 
to the mistaken severity of his regime, and with characteristic 
impetuosity attempted to redeem it. He visited his old cam- 
paigners in their tents, spoke to them with the genuine affection 
that his ambitions and anxieties had too long obscured, and 
made familiar and personal appeals to the leaders of the revolt. 
It was all in vain. The soldiers declared that they were ready 
to wait until the end of the year ; if by that time the enemy 
had not shown his face, they would severally disperse, those of 
them who had been dismissed, to their ovsm homes, the others 
to join the standard of Glabrio. LucuUus had no alternative 
but to yield. While Mithridates was re-conquering his old 
kingdom and Triarius pUlaging Cappadocia, the man who two 
years before had dominated Asia like a second Alexander, 
became in his own camp the butt and the laughing-stock of 
his soldiers.-]- 

Thus strangely and suddenly ended the poHtical and military Significance of 
career of Lucullus. During the six years which he spent in history'of" ** 
the East he had made a revolution in Roman politics which it Ro^e. 
would be impossible to over-emphasise. His part in the history 
of Rome is so analogous to that of Napoleon in the history of 
Europe that we may perhaps justly define him as the Napoleon 
of the last century of the Republic. He found the foreign policy 
of the Roman Republic in very much the same condition as 
that in which Napoleon found the foreign policy of Europe 
at the end of the eighteenth century. It was embarrassed hy 
traditions of slackness, paralysed by an indecision which took 
alarm at shadows and gave way at once before any determined 
opposition, and accustomed to regard intrigue and procrastina- 
tion as satisfactory substitutes for rapid and resolute action. 
It felt an almost sacred respect for the estabHshed order, and 
an extreme terror of laying a finger upon its familiar workings. 

* App., Mithr., 90 ; Dion, xxxvi. 330, fr. 14 (Gros). 
t Plut., Luc, 35* 


67 B.C. It habitually preferred diplomacy to war, and never understood 
how to make the most of a success or drive home any vigorous 
effort, generally accepting some compromise which settled the 
question for the moment along the Une of least resistance 
at the risk of raising new and inevitable complications in the 
• immediate future. This policy was not indeed without a 

certain sagacity of its own, but it had become stultified by the 
very exaggeration of its own virtues. Like Napoleon eighteen 
centuries later, Lucullus effected a revolution in the methods 
of government. He substituted war for negotiation as the 
usual method of solving the difficulties of Eastern poUcy. 
He replaced the interminable machinations of Senatorial 
intrigue by the sharp and vivid impression of his swift campaigns, 
with their bewildering attacks and their complete and amazing 
victories. By the adoption of a strong and sustained policy of 
aggression he succeeded in becoming the arbiter of the entire 
East, reducing one State after another to helplessness in a 
series of almost foolhardy campaigns. In this he was as over- 
whelmingly successful as Napoleon himself ; for he re- 
established the equiUbrium between the obsolete policy of the 
Senate and the changed circumstances of the day. A policy 
capable, if not carried to exaggeration, of doing Rome such 
service as this was certain to find converts and imitators, 
ipompey and Caesar were to be the two great pupils of 
Lucullus and to reap in the field where he had sown. For 
Lucullus was reserved the part, pathetic but not inglorious, 
of the pioneer who encounters aU the risks and enjoys but the 
scanty first-fruits of success. His fall was not simply the result 
of the intrigues of Pompey. Those intrigues would have been 
powerless if they had not revealed to his enemies the one weak 
point in his armour. It is indeed the cause of Lucullus' down- 
fall which is perhaps the most significant lesson of his career. 
By an effort of genius the aristocrat of ancient lineage, who had 
learnt in the school of Rutihus Rufus and was the devoted and 
disinterested friend of SuUa, had been able to liberate himself 
from the deadening fetters of caste and become the creator of 
the new imperialism. But there was one sphere in which he 
had still remained the inflexible aristocrat of the olden time. 
He had never outgrown the old-fashioned conception of the 
duty of a general towards his soldiers. In this strange incon- 
sistency lay the seeds of his disgrace. The new imperialism 
required generals of a different type from the men who had 
held command during the first two Punic Wars. For the troops 


had been changing with their generals. The discipline and 67 b.c. 
obedience of traditional soldiering had passed away beyond recall 
with the opening of the East. When it was too late, Lucullus 
awoke to his mistake. Not all his signal qualities availed to 
save him from one of the cruellest humiliations a Roman 
general ever suffered. His fall marks the final failure of the . 

aristocratic restoration attempted by Sulla. It was because 
he remained faithful to the old ideals and customs, in one of 
their noblest and greatest appHcations, that the noblest and 
greatest of the friends of Sulla had to pass on to others the 
gain and the glory of the new policy which he had been the 
first to conceive and to execute. 


Metellus and 
the Cretan 

The panic in 

Pompey, Metellus and tha Cretan pirates — The financiers and 
the panic in Asia — The Manilian Law — Cicero — His speech 
in favour of the Law — Pompey Commander-in-chief in the 
East — Pompey and Lucullus at Danala — ^The last battle of 
Mithridates — Pompey and the King of Armenia. 

While Pompey was conquering the pirates by kindness, 
Quintus Metellus was spreading fire and bloodshed throughout 
Crete, massacring his prisoners and growing rich on their loot. 
MeteUns belonged to the small circle of reactionary Conserva- 
tives who would have liked to govern the Empire on the system 
of Scipio .^milianus, and his severity was a deUberate protest 
against the clemency of the demagogue Pompey who was not 
ashamed to court the favour of the people by making terms 
with the evil-doers. In their desperation the pirates appealed 
to Pompey wdth offers of submission, and Pompey, only too 
glad to humiHate Metellus, eagerly accepted them. On the 
pretext that the Gabinian Law put Crete under his orders, 
he despatched Lucius Octavius to replace Metellus ; but 
Metellus retorted with a declaration that Crete was outside 
Pompey's jurisdiction and inflicted condign punishment upon 
the cities which, in rehance upon Pompey's decree, had re- 
fused him obedience. Lucius Octavius was very nearly forced 
into maintaining the rights of his chief by defending the 
pirates against a Roman pro-Consul. Happily more serious 
incidents intervened to distract Pompey from this awkward 

Towards the end of the year 6l, grave news reached Rome 
from the East. Financiers received letter upon letter from 
their correspondents in Asia giving alarming reports about 
the state of the province. LucuUus was no longer in command 

* Plut., Pomp., 29 ; App., Sic, vi. 2 ; Flor., iii. 7 ; Dion, 339, 1-2 


of the army, and Glabrio and Marcius were men of little 66 b.c. 
capacity. Mithridates had again become master of Pontus. 
Tigranes had broken into Cappadocia, and flying columns had 
burnt the frontier villages * and made their appearance in the 
heart of Bithynia. These reports caused a regular panic in the 
capital. Men thought of Mithridates as already at Pergamus, 
of a general massacre of Italians and confiscation of property 
on the model of 88. Before long every one was agreed that 
the ordinary magistrates were insufiicient to deal vnth so serious 
a situation — a view not infrequently taken by the Democrats, 
but shared for once on this occasion by many of the Conserva- 
tives and financiers. 

The friends of Pompey were not slow to turn all this to their The proposal 
advantage. At the beginning of 66 the Tribune Manihus " 
proposed that Pompey should be entrusted, in addition to 
the powers which he already held, vnth. the government of 
Asia, Bithynia, Cilicia, the chief command in the operations 
against Mithridates and Tigranes, and the right of declaring 
war and concluding alliances as he thought good, in the name 
of the Roman people.t This was nothing less than a legal 
authorisation in Pompey's favour of the poHcy of personal 
initiative which LucuUus had been the first to apply. Crassus, 
to whom the success of Pompey in the war against the pirates 
had been exceedingly galling, was disgusted to see his rival 
carrying off the palm in their four years duel of intrigue. 
The Conservative party, which had only just condemned 
Pompey's clemency to the pirates, was unwilling to pass a 
second law in his favour, thus openly recognising a policy 
which it had tolerated or ignored in the case of Lucullus. 
Some of its more eminent members, such as Catulus and 
Hortensius, even endeavoured to oppose the project by 
appealing to RepubUcan sentiment and demonstrating 
that a Dictatorship of this sort would be monarchical in 
character. J 

But in spite of all difficulties of distance and opposition, The force of 
Pompey's success over the pirates was for the moment more ^^^^ op""""- 
influential than the coalition of Crassus, the Conservatives, 
and tradition. A new power had appeared in Itahan politics, 
intermittent in its working, but invincible whenever its in- 
fluence was exerted — the force of pubhc opinion. As so often 

* Cic, Pro Leg., Man., 2. 

t Hut., Pomp., 30 ; App«, Mithr., 97 ; Dion, xxxvi. 40-41. 

X Plut., Pomp., 30 ; Cic, Pro Leg. Man., xvii. 52. 


66 B.C. happens in democracies with a rising standard of comfort jnd 
speciaUsation, the wealthy and well-to-do landlords, the 
financiers, merchants and professional men, the artists and 
men of leisure, who together composed the upper classes, were 
too much wrapped up in private business or pleasure to have 
time or thought for public affairs, which were thus gradually- 
monopolised by a small minority of professional politicians. 
Except at some emergency of unusual interest the educated 
pubHc stood entirely aloof from politics. But on the rare 
occasions when exceptional enthusiasm or anxiety stirred the 
slumbering passions of this electorate into activity there was 
no party or clique or political association sufficiently powerful 
to resist it. It had already once made trial of its power ; for 
in 70 it was the violent outbreak of a long-stored resentment 
against the Conservative government which stirred many Con- 
setvatives to transfer their support to the opposite party. But 
the enthusiasm had cooled down as quicMy as it had been 
roused : and it was in vain that Caesar, Pompey and the 
Tribunes had attempted to reawaken it. Now, however, 
quite suddenly there was a fresh outburst of excitement. In 
the enthusiasm of Pompey's success against the pirates, all 
Italy acclaimed him as the greatest general of the age, the man 
who alone had proved himself worthy of their confidence and 
capable of dealing a death-blow to the indomitable Mithri- 
Character of It was indeed not merely the irresponsible enthusiasm of the 
man in the street which clamoured for Pompey to be Dictator 
of the East. The financiers and the wealthy classes, the 
numerous Senators and knights who had invested capital in 
Asia, joined with young aspirants like Csesar in the general 
outcry. Pompey obtained support, too, from what was perhaps 
a still more significant quarter. He had on his side the first 
representative at Rome of a figure common in all democracies 
as they rise in the scale of civihsation, the man of letters 
who becomes through his writings a real force amongst 
his contemporaries. Since his sensational prosecution ■>' of 
Verres, Cicero had quietly continued his training, reading 
and studying very widely, refining his oratorical style, and 
exercising his faciUty for composition so successfully as to 
become one of the quickest and most concentrated workers 
of the day. In a society that hungered for intellectual gratifi- 
cation, he had succeeded, notwithstanding the obscurity of 
his origin and the smallness of his means, in winning sufficient 



influence and popularity to be elected to the ^dileship and 66 b.c. 
the Praetorship.* He now counted as one of the most con- 
spicuous figures in Roman life. His influence was of a peculiar 
and unprecedented kind. Like aU typical men of letters, 
he was better able to sway the imagination and emotions of 
masses of men than to dominate the wiU of single individuals. 
When he stood up to speak before a large popular audience, 
the power which he seemed to wield was extraordinary. The 
marvellous hold which he had thus obtained over the minds 
of his hearers in an age where no one was untouched by the 
flame of personal ambition, had kindled in him a vague passion 
to become the Demosthenes of the great Itahan democracy. 
Like many another soldier and man of letters before and since, 
he began to delude himself with the notion that he was destined 
to be a great administrator. Yet aU the time, for each of the 
separate individuals out of whom the huge crowds which he 
held spellbound with his eloquence were composed, Cicero 
was little more than a weak and contemptible little figure in 
the rough arena of politics ; not all his fine moral qualities or 
professions of independence could shield him against the arts of 
intrigue and intimidation. He was neither cruel, nor rapacious, 
nor insincere ; his morals were pure, and his affections strong 
and deeply-rooted. But there were quaHties in his nature which 
forbade lum to be powerful. He was of a morbidly nervous 
and susceptible disposition, tormented by the pinpricks of 
an almost feminine vanity and by a sensibUity that was ahve 
to every petty annoyance. After moments of exaltation 
in which he felt himself to be a leader of men and made 
display of his self-confidence in mordant criticism and the 
boldest and most complacent professions of ambition, he would 
periodicallyj coUapse, as though there were two natures fight- 
ing in his bosom, into fits of the most abject dejection, 
suspecting a possible enemy in every one around him, 
and lavishing the most pitiful and humiliating thanks 
on the first mediocrity who happened to make some banal 
observation in his favour. Above all, he was never able to 
free himself from a certain attitude of snobbishness towards 

* G. Boissier, Ciceron et ses amis, Paris, 1902, p. 44, has well remarked 
that " up to the age of forty Cicero was only what we should call a 
barrister." But I think he is wrong in regarding forum eloquence 
as the high road to political distinction. It was a great exception 
for a lawyer to succeed in poUtics at this time ; Cicero was the first to 
reach the high magistracies without riches and nobility by his literary 


66 B.C. the upper classes. He was very greedy of notoriety. He was 
proud of being known to every one and of seeing the poorer 
people turn round to look at him in the streets. He was 
afraid lest a word should be breathed against him in the greatest 
houses of Rome, and longed ardently, and for a long time 
hopelessly, for an entree into the house of any aristocrat of 
authentic lineage and untarnished record. He was radiant 
with satisfaction at the many friendships which his oratorical 
renown had brought him among the rich capitalists, many of 
whom were exempt from all traditions of exclusiveness and, 
particularly if they were men of culture like Atticus, gladly 
welcomed to their society a man who had risen from the ranks 
by his pen. In a word, even after he had become a great 
figure in history, Cicero remained in many respects what he 
had been from the beginning — a small bourgeois from a country 
town, whose vanity fell an easy prey to the compliments of the 
plutocracy and the nobility. AU this serves to explain why, 
at this critical juncture in his career, he followed Caesar's 
example, and courted admiration simultaneously from the 
Democrats and the Conservatives: although unlike Caesar, 
and just because he was a bourgeois born, he inclined rather 
towards the nobility. It explains also why he had prosecuted 
Verres and assailed the corrupt Conservative administration 
in the year of the democratic revival, and why he had after- 
wards refused to be a candidate for the Tribuneship in order 
not to compromise his reputation in the eyes of the 
The "De _ The Bill of Manilius now ofiFered an extraordinarily favourable 
PompeU.""* opportunity for pleasing several parties at once — not only the 
rich capitalists and a large part of the aristocracy, but also 
the whole of the proletariat. Cicero, who was at that time 
Praetor, came forward in support of the bill in a speech of great 
eloquence, delivered in his best manner. He knew his public. 
He assured the rich merchants and Senators, who were tremb- 
ling for their investments, the well-to-do tax-farmers, the shop- 
keepers and the artisans, that the old kingdom of Pergamus 
was the richest province of the Empire, that not only did it 
supply the treasury with a large part of its revenues, but that 
most of the invested capital of the tax-farmers, merchants 
and other private individuals was laid out there, and that it 
was therefore the duty of all classes to unite in defending it 
• Dion, xxxvi. 41. 


to the death.* Caesar, who intended to stand for the ^dileship 66 b.c. 
in 65 and was using every effort to gain popularity, also ap- 
peared in support of the bill, which was thus eventually passed, 
much to the indignation of Crassus. Pompey received the 
good news in Cihcia where he had gone into winter quarters, 
and immediately set about making preparations for his cam- 

We have now reached the spring of 66. Still, as ever, the Mithrfdates 
favourite of fortune, Pompey had been entrusted with the JSui^s* ^"' 
despatch of a man already wounded to the death. Mithridates 
had quarrelled with Tigranes, who suspected him with sowing 
disaffection among his sons in the hope of raising to the throne 
of Armenia a man more devoted to his cause. Abandoned by 
Tigranes, without a fleet, and with no more than about 30,000 
infantry and a few thousand cavalry,t he had only one more 
chance, and that but a weak one. There was just a hope that 
Phraates, who had succeeded Arsaces on the throne of Parthia, 
would come to his aid. But Pompey hastened to send an 
embassy to Phraates to persuade him to turn his arms against 
Tigranes,! and recover the lost provinces of his kingdom. 
He was anxious to be done with intriguing and to strike a rapid 
blow against Rome's old enemy. 

But before his hands were free to act there was one delicate Pompey's in- 
duty to perform. He had come out to reheve LucuUus of his l^SuSIs™'' 
command ; but LucuUus was stUl obstinately encamped in the 
midst of his mutinous legions. Leaving behind him in Cilicia§ 
the three legions of Marcius, Pompey advanced with a large 
force which was to serve both for the campaign against Mithri- 
dates and to persuade LucuUus of the necessity of submission. 
The young favourite of fortune advanced in the flush of success 
to encounter the sour and war-worn veteran. There were 
many in both camps who awaited the meeting with unconcealed 
anxiety. It was impossible to predict the effect of an interview. 
Mutual friends did their best to secure that aU might go off 
with dignity and without scandal. The two generals were 
induced to meet at Danala in Galatia.|| The interview opened 
auspiciously with mutual compUments, but LucuUus who had 
never been a skilful diplomatist, endeavoured to maintain an 

* See esp., Pro Leg. Man., ch. vii. 

t App., Mithr., 97 ; Plut., Pomp., 32. 

{ Reinach, M. E., 382 ; Rawlinson, Sj O. M., 143. 

§ This is clear from Dion, xxxvi. 46. 

Ij Strabo, xii. 5, 2 (567.) 


66 B.C. impossible position. He declkred that nothing remained for 
Pompey but to return to Rome, since he himself had already 
brought the war to a conclusion. Hot words ensued, and the 
generals parted after an unpleasantly violent scene.* Lucullus 
even went so far as to publish decrees and distribute the lands 
he had conquered in Galatia, trying in his way to make- others 
believe, or perhaps rather to make himself beheve, that he had 
no intention of giving way. But Pompey had no difficulty 
in drawing off aU his soldiers to his own standard, with the 
exception of 1600 whom he left to accompany their general to 
Pompey pnr- With an army of scarcely 30,000 men,t Pompey now crossed 
dates. the frontier of Pontus. Following the precedent set him by 

Lucullus in the campaign of 74,} Mithridates first tried by 
skirmishing to hamper the commissariat of the enemy. But 
when he had lost part of his cavalry in an ambush and Pompey 
had succeeded in opening a quicker and surer means of com- 
munication by Acelisene, he abandoned offensive tactics and 
retired to a strong position at Dasteira. Pompey then sent 
for reinforcements from CiHcia. Mithridates now realised 
that he would soon be surrounded by overwhelmingly superior 
forces.§ One night he eluded the vigilance of the Roman 
sentinels, and slipped out in the hope of crossing the Euphrates 
and continuing the war in Armenia. But Pompey went in 
pursuit, overtook him after three days, and inflicted upon him 
a severe defeat,|| during which Mithridates only just succeeded 
in escaping. With the remnant of his army he made his way to 
Sinoria, on the borders of Armenia, the strongest of his fortresses. 
There he took possession of a huge sum of money, gave his 
soldiers a year's pay, distributed amongst them a great part 

* Dion, xxxvi. 44 ; Plut., Pomp., 31 ; Lut., 36. 

f This is the figure given by Dion, xxxvi. 45. Reinach, M. E., 
382, n. 2, reckons 60,000 men in Pompey's army, calculating by the 
sums distributed to the veterans at the end of the war. But Mommsen 
(R. G., iii. 116, 117), has thrown doubt on the correctness of these sums 
and their distribution. Moreover, Reinach's figure would include 
all the survivors of the whole Eastern war, and not merely the soldiers 
who took part in the first campaign. It must be remembered that 
the three Cilician legions took no part in it. 

I Dion, xxxvi. 45^ App., Mith., 98-9, is less clear, but gives the 
same general impression of the war. 

§ App., Mith., 99, does not name Dasteira, but certainly alludes 
to the place described in Strabo xii. 10, 8 (555). See Dion, xxxvi. 46, 
where the country wrongly called Anaitis is certainly Acelisene, as 
is clear from Strabo xi. 14, 16 (552). 

II App., Mithr., 100; Liv., Epit., loi ; Dion, xxxvi. 47. There are 
divergences in the account of the battle. 


of his other riches, and sent to ask the hospitality of Tigranes> 66 b.c. 

on whose frontier he was. Then, not daring to await a reply 

within such easy reach of the Romans, he started off once 

more with a smdl escort, recruiting troops as he went, marched 

up the right bank of the Euphrates to its source and down again 

into Colchis, which, amid the disorder of the last few years, [Mingreiia.] 

had practically recovered its independence, and finally succeeded 

in reaching Dioscurias, the last of the great Greek cities on the 

coast, at the foot of the Caucasus.* 

Pompey, whose strategy had been seen at its best in the cam- Pompey aad 
paign, was now temporarily helpless. He was not in a position i"'?''*''^^ 
to lead his whole army across the mountains in pursuit of this 
band of fugitives. Nor was there anything to be lost by post- 
poning the invasion of Colchis till the following year. Mithri- 
dates was surrounded and practically taken in a trap. He 
could not return to Armenia ; he could not elude the Roman 
squadrons by sea ; nor could he fly to the Crimea, where his 
son Machares was now on the throne, for Machares had become 
an ally of the Romans ; moreover he was cut off from the 
Crimea by the barbarous tribes of the Caucasus, whom even at 
the time of his greatest power he had always been unable 
to reduce. Pompey therefore preferred to turn aside to 
Armenia, which he over-ran without difficulty. While Pompey 
had been fighting against Mithridates, Tigranes had been 
attacked by Phraates and his own rebellious son. But Phraates 
had soon retired and his son, alarmed at his isolation, had sent 
to Pompey for help. Tigranes attempted to resist, but when 
he ascertained that Pompey was preparing to attack him, he 
put the envoys of Mithridates in chains, set a price upon his 
head, and came alone and on foot as a supphant to the Roman 
camp. Pompey received him kindly, reassured him by the 
restoration of all the hereditary domains of his family, and 
reconciled him to his son, who was rewarded with the grant 
of Sophene. Tigranes received the title of friend and ally 
of the Roman people and was forced to pay 6,000 talents to 
Pompey personally, 50 drachmae to each of the soldiers, 1,000 
to each of the centurions and 10,000 to each of the military 
Tribunes. -j- He then led his troops northwards to winter 
quarters on the banks of the Kur on the extreme northern [Cyms.] 

* Reinach, M. E., 387 fi. 

t App., Mithr., 104. 6,000 talents are over ;^i,icx),ooo, 50 drachmae 
about £1 ios„ 1000 about £-^2. 10,000 about /320, without taking into 
account the very much greater value of the precious metals in antiquity. 

I O 


66 B.C. frontier of Armenia and prepared for his invasion of Colchis 
by entering into relations with the Albanians, who inhabit 
Cirvan and Daghestan, and with the Iberians of Georgia. 
But if he thought that he had at last cornered Mithridates, 
he was mistaken. The indomitable veteran had himself been 
making overtures to the Iberians and Albanians and had per- 
suaded them to help him in a last effort against Rome. In 
December the legions in winter quarters on the banks of the 
Kur were suddeidy surprised by the Albanians. The attack 
was repulsed ; and Pompey, still favoured by fortune, thus 
received a useful warning to be thoroughly on his guard against 
these treacherous barbarians.* 

* See Reinach, M. E., 388-394. 


Mithridates escapes to the Crimea — ^The Indian trade route 
and Pompey's expedition to Cirvan and Baghestan — The 
archives and treasures of Mithridates — The speculations and 
ambitions of Crassus — Caesar's debts — Caesar in Crassus' pay — 
The conspiracy of 66 — ^Return of LucuUus to Italy — LucuUus 
and the cherry tree — Cotta Ponticus and the Heracleote trial — 
Caesar as iEdile — Cheap bread : the Egyptian scheme — Its 
failure — ^Italy and the Empire — ^The question of debt. 

The surprise attack of the Albanians was the last moment of Pompev's 
real danger in the campaign. In the spring of 65 Pompey set ^ms throSgh' 
out on what turned out to be a triumphal progress through western Asia 
Western Asia, slowly wending his way, gathering spoils as he 
went, through the great monarchies, the free cities, the mari- 
time republics, the petty theocracies, and the numerous brigand 
or private communities which had sprung up out of the chaos 
of the Empire of Alexander. He passed by the legendary 
scenes of the poetry and mythology of Greece ; he visited 
lands and cities and battlefields whose names had long been 
familiar to the western imagination ; he contemplated the 
infinite variety of barbarous nations scattered through \sm 
between the Caucasus and Arabia, with every diversity of 
language, custom and religion ; he became acquainted with 
the wonders and the depravity of that ancient industrial 
and HeUenised Orient which lived by exploiting the barbarians 
in its service and differed so profoundly from the younger 
and more buoyant civilisation of Italy : its weird and impres- 
sive cults compounded of layer upon layer of superstition, 
its intensive and laborious agriculture, where the soil allowed 
it, the arts and industries of the famous cities which manu- 
factured the luxuries of the whole of the Mediterranean world : 
above all, the men and women who lived in these great indus- 
trial centres — their labouring population, sober, hard-working 
and thrifty, yet quick and intelligent and strangely sensitive 


65 B.C. to the influence of religion : their class of professional intellec- 
tuals, philosophers and scientists, still so rare a phenomenon 
in Italy : and the royal Courts with their vice and luxury, 
their untold treasures, and the elaborate and striking ceremonial 
which excited so much curiosity amongst the simple-minded 
democracy of Italy. 
The Indian At the beginning of the spring Pompey invaded and over- 

trade route. j.^j^ ^j^g country of the Iberians, beneath the snow-peaks of 
the mountains where Prometheus had once been chained. 
He passed on into the valley of the Rion, the ancient Phasis, 
and descended into the plain of Colchis. Here, in the country 
of Medea and the Argonauts, he had thought at last to lay 
hands on Mithridates.* He was too late. The undaunted 
veteran had once more performed an exploit that seemed 
outside the range of possibility. Forcing a passage with his 
small army through the tribes of the Caucasus, he had pene- 
trated successfully along the four hundred miles of hostile and 
difKcult coast which separated him from the Crimea. Once 
in the Crimea, he fell upon his rebellious son, forced him to fly 
for his life, and thus conquered himself a new kingdom.^ 
Pompey was too cautious a general to attempt to invade the 
Crimea by sea. Having arranged for a blockade during his 
absence, he set out along the valley of the Kur, upon 
an expedition against the Albanians, whom he seems to 
have surprised by the aid of treachery. Thence he returned 
into Lesser Armenia,^ bringing back to the adventurous 
Italian merchants exact and welcome information about 
the mysterious overland trade route to India. This route 
started from the port of Phasis, ascended that river to its 
source, crossing thence into the vaUey of the Kur, and over 
the country of the Iberians and Albanians to the Caspian ; 
once across the Caspian, it made for the valley of the Amu Daria 
(the ancient Oxus), which did not flow, as to-day, into the Sea 
of Aral, but into the Caspian. § 
The treasure of In the course of these expeditions the troops had naturally 
Mithridates. amassed large stores of precious metals and slaves. When he 
reached Lesser Armenia, Pompey spent the rest of the year in 
reducing the last resisting fortresses and taking possession of 
the immense treasures of Mithridates. The greater part of 

* Plut., Pomp., 34 ; Dion, xxxvii., 1-3 ; App., Mithr., 103 ; Reinach, 
M. E., 394. 

t App., Mith., 101-2 ; Strabo, xi. 2, 13 (496.) 

i Dion, xxxvii., 3 ; Plut., Pomp., 35 ; Reinach, M. E., 398, n. i. 

§ Strabo, xi. 7, 3 (509) ; Pliny, H. N. vi. 17, 52. 


it he found in the citadel of Talaura, which contained 2000 65 b.c. 
coffers of onyx encrusted with gold, and so huge a store of 
phials, vases, couches, beds, bridles and breastplates, covered 
with gold and precious stones, that it took a month to make 
their inventory.* In another citadel he came upon the cor- 
respondence and secret memoirs of Mithridates, the recipes 
for his poisons, and an interesting correspondence between the 
King of Pontus and his favourite Monima.f The whole of 
the treasure of the last great Hellenising monarch of Asia had 
now passed into the possession of the Itahan democracy. 

But the democracy was in no mood to enjoy its victories. The party 
All through 66 the Italian situation had grown steadily worse, ^ame- 
After the passionate interest taken in the debates on the 
Manilian law and in the course of affairs in Asia, the public 
had relapsed into its normal condition of sulky torpor. The 
financial crisis was becoming acute. All classes in the State 
were suffering from the pressure of debt ; all felt the irritation 
that waits on disappointed expectations. They were in a 
fickle and impressionable mood, yet at the same time utterly 
indifferent to the projects of the official political parties. 
Now that order had been re-established in the East, there was > 

in fact only one great problem which really interested the 
mass of the nation, the problem of debt ; and this neither of 
the two parties dared to bring to the front. In default of 
more serious questions the two small cliques of politicians who 
represented the Conservative and popular parties, were reduced 
to a war of intrigue and slander, carried on principally in the 
law-courts, which seemed to increase in violence as it diminished 
in interest. In their attempts to rouse some show of excitement 
in an indifferent public, both parties lost their temper, and 
both were equally unsuccessful. 

A situation difficult enough in itself was stiU further com- Crassus and 
plicated by a manoeuvre on the part of Crassus. The millionaire, ''^^^^ bre^A. 
who ever since his Consulship had given his support to the 
Conservatives in their struggle against Pompey, had now passed 
over to the popular party, and, in the place and during the 
absence of Pompey, undertaken to be its leader. His object 
is not difficult to divine. After the two rebuffs he had suffered 
by the Gabinian and ManiHan laws he was longing for a revenge, 
and he proposed to obtain it by an imitation of the intrigues 
of his successful rival. The democracy wanted conquests 
and victories and the sack of cities ; Pompey had gained his 
* App., Mith., 115. t Plut., Pomp., 37. 


66 B.C. great popularity because his success against the pirates was 
thought to have checked the famine in the metropoHs. Crassus 
was a man of business. He was prepared to accept the public 
in their present mood and to supply them with just what they 
desired. He would come forward as their general in a new 
enterprise which would for ever assure to Rome the blessing 
of cheap food. Here was a second disciple for the unhappy 
LucuUus. Whilst Pompey continued to apply his policy in 
Asia, Crassus was dreaming of carrying it into an altogether 
new quarter of the world, into the great and wealthy kingdom 
of Egypt. 
Egypt It must be confessed that the banker had shown perspicacity 

in the selection of his victim. Egypt was not only the richest 
country in the world ; it was also one of the few countries so 
fertile that the annual harvest largely exceeded the needs of 
the people and was available, with the royal permission, for 
export to less fortunate regions. If Egypt were annexed to 
Rome the surplus of its annual harvest could be exported in its 
entirety to the metropoUs. The conquest of Egypt therefore 
meant for the Romans what the aboHtion of corn duties 
means for us ; it meant cheap bread. No doubt some pretext 
was needed for the Roman intervention ; but this was easily 
found in the wiU of Alexander II., who at his death in 8i, had 
bequeathed Egypt to the Romans. There were many now 
who regretted that the Senate had at that time been so 
timid as to refuse his bequest. There would, however, be no 
difficulty in going back upon its decision, for with its habitual 
want of logic the Senate had at the same time refused to 
recognise the new King Ptolemy Auletes, whose royal descent 
was somewhat dubious and who had for years been vainly 
intriguing to secure recognition.* 
Crassus seeks Crassus, who knew his fellow-Senators, was well aware that 
an agent. some shatp external pressure would be needed if this traditional 
policy was to be reversed in favour of aggressive measures 
against a peaceful country which had done nothing to provoke 
hostility. The Senate was not yet educated up to the new 
imperialism of LucuUus. He must therefore follow the pre- 
cedent of Pompey in raising some excitement in the public 
mind. If he addressed his appeal directly to the mob, he could 
have his campaign voted by the electors, who did not share 
the diplomatic scruples of the Senate and were beginning to 
feel enthusiastic about expansion in general, regardless of the 
* BarbagaUo, R. B. E., 120. 


particular circumstances of the case. But this manoeuvre 66 b.c. 

was bound to fail unless he had first made his peace with the 

Democratic party and gained over to his side all the more active 

and skilful members of Pompey's clique. After several years 

of conflict such a reconciliation was by no means easily achieved. 

Crassus appears to have found the personal friends of his rival 

a serious obstacle in his path, since in the agitation which follows 

we find none of the men who had helped Pompey taking a 

prominent part. We are told that Gabinius was at this time 

preparing to go out as second in command to his chief in the 

East, and it is highly probable that many of Pompey's friends 

met Crassus' advances with suspicion and did not care to brave 

the displeasure of their patron. One only among the more 

prominent popular politicians was found favourable to Crassus, 

but he was the ablest and most adroit of them all — Csesar. 

Cassar was now approaching a critical moment in his career. Caesar sells 
He had hitherto given a general support to the popular party crassus. 
but vnthout forming any close personal relations or joining 
in any intrigues of the kind which his friend Clodius had under- 
taken in the army of LucuUus. Thanks to this policy, he had re- 
mained, more than any other of the rising members of the Demo- 
cratic party, in the confidence of his Conservative opponents. 
Yet for all this he was as yet only on the threshold of a political 
career. He had gone no farther than the ^dileship, to which 
he had been elected for the following year. What exercised 
a stiU greater influence over his actions was that he was in 
serious pecuniary straits. At a time when popular enthusiasm 
was at a low ebb it was more than ever necessary for him to 
have plenty of money ; there was every prospect that his 
expenditure would rise steadily, and no prospect of meeting 
it till he eventually reached the Praetorship and recouped 
himself out of the spoils of his provincial administration. 
Moreover the temporary depression in trade was discouraging 
the capitalists from advancing funds ; as money became in- 
creasingly dear, they dispensed less and less of it among their 
habitiUs, In this situation the ambition and jealousy of 
Crassus were a very gold-mine for an impecunious aspirant. 
Under the imperative necessity of making some money, Caesar 
braved the hostility of his party colleagues and, for the first 
time in his life, allowed himself to become the instrument of 
the millionaire. But he still hoped that it would involve no 
breach vwth Pompey. The latter surely could not complain 
if Caesar, after doing his best to obtain him his command in 


66 B.C. the East, now performed a similar service, in respect of Egypt, 
for his distinguished fellow-citizen. It was easy for him to 
argue down his scruples in the ingenuous irresponsibility 
of youth. He would be useful to Crassus, and Crassus would 
be exceedingly useful to him ; at the same time he would be 
maintaining his friendly relationship with Pompey, and doing 
nothing to compromise the position he had already acquired. 
In short it was a master-stroke, which would leave him on good 
terms with every one. Caesar had been no more able than his 
fellows to escape the demoralising influences which seem 
inherent in politics, and more especially in the politics of a 
mercantile democracy. The result was soon clear to view. 
The young noble who had taken up the study of politics in a 
spirit of aristocratic detachment was now to be mixed up with 
aU the base tribes of trimmers and demagogues who regarded 
politics simply as a convenient means for the attainment of 
low and selfish ends.* 
The con- Not long after he had concluded this coalition with Crassus 

spiracy of 66. j^^ gg^ ^^ ^^^ Caesar involved in a very unpleasant intrigue. 
At the Consular elections for 65 the Senate was most anxious 
to secure the return of Lucius Aurelius Cotta and Cneius 
Manhus Torquatus ; it had therefore erased from the list of 
candidates the name of Lucius Sergius Catiline, an old partisan 
of SuUa who had just returned from a pro-Praetorship in Africa, 
on the double pretext that his nomination had not been 
received in time and that he was under prosecution for extor- 
tion. When, in spite of this intrigue, two other candidates, 
Publius Autronius and Publius Sulla, nephew of the Dictator, 
had been elected, the son of Torquatusf had accused the two 
Consuls designate of extortion and he intrigued so successfully 
that they were both condemned and a new election proclaimed. 
This time the Senatorial candidates were duly elected. The 
popular party, which had taken up the cause of Autronius 
and Sulla as a convenient weapon against the Conservatives, 
had succeeded in rousing a good deal of public feeling on the 
subject, and some disorders had actually broken out during 
the hearing of the trial. J This encouraged them to still bolder 
measures after their condemnation, and they entered into a 
conspiracy to bring about a third election by assassinating the 
new Consuls on the first day of the year. 

* See Appendix C. 

■f Driimann, R. G., ii. 514, has shown that it was not the candidate, 
himself, but his son. J Cic, Pro Sul., 5. 


The conspiracy was joined by Catiline and a few other needy 66 b.c. 
young aristocrats, such as Cnaeus Piso ; and, what is more 
serious, it appears to have been approved in secret by Caesar Crassns and 
and Crassus, though, for fear of compromising their reputation, colspiracy. 
they refused any active support. This was an act of very great 
imprudence on their part, and poUticians of their skill and 
adroitness would never have committed it if they had not 
practically been forced into dangerous measures by the diffi- 
culties attending their Egyptian project. In spite of his per- 
sonal solicitations, the supporters of Pompey obstinately refused 
to lend Crassus any assistance, and Caesar and the milhonaire 
still remained alone in the field. It was not easy for them 
by their own unaided efforts to stir up the people and over- 
ride the opposition of the Senate and the magistrates. In this 
situation it would have been exceedingly useful to have two 
Consuls favourable to their scheme, and it was this that induced 
them to countenance the projected coup d'etat of Sulla and 
Antonius. Unfortunately the conspiracy was discovered, 
and public opinion was much disturbed at the strange light it 
threw on the morals of the upper classes. All parties united 
in demanding an exemplary penalty. But when the Senate 
met to discuss it, Crassus intervened so vigorously in the debate 
as not only to save the conspirators from punishment but even 
to secure them compensation for their defeat. Perhaps he 
thought that a bold attitude would most effectually silence 
the unpleasant rumours that were abroad about his compUcity 
in the plot ; or it may have pleased him to give a display of his 
influence over the Senate. At any rate that body, which was 
filled with his own debtors, yielded to his appeal, and no prosecu- 
tions were undertaken. Piso was sent on an extraordinary 
mission to Spain, while Torquatus himself prepared to defend 
Catiline in his case for extortion.* In this way the matter 
was soon hushed up ; but Crassus and Caesar had learnt to be 
more careful of such entanglements in the future. 

Meanwhile LucuUus had returned to Italy with his miserable 
escort of 1600 soldiers and huge stores of gold and silver in 
bulUon and ingots. t He brought with him to the West a 

* Sail., Cat., 18 ; Suet., Cass., 9 ; Ascon., in Cic, Tog; Gand. ; Cic, 
Pro. Sul., iv. II ; xxiv., 68 ; in Cat. i. 6, 15 ; Liv., Per., loi ; Dion, xxxvi. 
42. Jolin, E. G. C. v., p. 706-14, has made it certain that Sallust 
is wrong in making Catiline the ringleader in this conspiracy. He 
played quite a secondary part. See Stem, C, p. 16 f. ; Tarentino 
C. C, 29 f. ; BeUezza, F. S., p. 59 f. The reasons for the version given 
above are explained in Appendix C. f Pint., Luc, 37. 

65 B.C. 

Return of 

Trial of Cotta 


more precious possession than these in the cherry-tree, which 
began from this time onwards to be generally cultivated in 
Italy.* It is strange to reflect that in the snowy plumage of 
a cherry-tree in a spring orchard we have a trophy, that has 
survived the convulsions of twenty centuries of history, of the 
great Eastern conquests of LucuUus. But if posterity forgets 
the men to whom its thanks are due, their contemporaries 
too often ignore them. Despite aU his victories and his spoils, 
and despite the unknown treasure he carried in his train, Lucul- 
lus found the gates of Rome sternly closed against his modest 
triumphal procession. Feeling was running high between 
the two political groups, and the most trivial incident was 
used by one party or the other as a pretext for attacking their 
rivals. Suddenly re-entering the world of poHtics after years 
of absence, LucuUus found himself being assailed by the popular 
party as though he were a criminal or a brigand. In the hope 
of exciting the passions of the mob against the upper classes, 
demagogues threw into his teeth, as the friend of SuUa, all 
that they had been ready to tolerate and even praise in Pompey, 
his indiscriminate looting, his unauthorised campaigns, and the 
blunders and brutahties of his generals. Every time the Senate 
met to discuss the triumph of LucuUus, the Tribunes interposed 
their veto. 

Nor did they reserve their criticisms for LucuUus ; they 
soon turned their attention to his officers and subordinates, 
in particular to Cotta, the captor of Heraclea. On Cotta's 
return the Senate had decreed him unusual honours and 
allowed him the title of Ponticus. But when he began to 
make display of the wealth he had acquired during the war 
the Tribunes took up his case, threatened to bring a prosecution 
against him, and demanded the release of the prisoners of 
Heraclea. Perceiving the storm-clouds gathering on the horizon, 
Cotta prudently decided to cast out baUast. But though he 
disgorged large sums out of his booty to the pubUc treasury, the 
Democratic party continued its attacks. Cotta's contributions 
they declared, were an insult and an absurdity ; he had kept 
the greater part for himself. When the law by which his 
prisoners were to be released was brought before the Assembly, 
the popular leaders arranged a pathetic scene for the occasion. 
They hunted up from the highways and hedges, from private 
houses and the barracks of the slave-merchants, aU the Herac- 
leote captives that they could find, dressed them in mourning, 
* Pliny, XV. 25, 102. 


presented them with wreaths of olive, and sent them thus 65 b.c. 
attired into the assembly. Then a certain Thrasimedes of 
Heraclea rose to speak. He recalled the old friendship between 
Heraclea and Rome, he described the long-drawn agonies of 
the siege, the horrors of the sack, the carnage and the fire, to 
the accompaniment of a pitiful chorus of sobs from the slaves. 
The public was so impressed that Cotta was hardly allowed to 
open his mouth, and thought himself exceedingly lucky to 
escape a sentence of exile.* 

The Conservatives replied to all this, as Conservatives are c^sar's 
in the habit of replying in similar situations, by accusing their ■^'^'leship. 
opponents of working for a revolution. When Pompey 
returned from the East, they declared, at the head of his 
victorious legions, he would have himself proclaimed sole ruler 
and overturn the government of the Republic. Yet these 
alarms did not prevent them from picking a quarrel with Crassus 
and Csesar. After the failure of their conspiracy the two allies 
had reverted to their original project of provoking a great 
popular agitation for the conquest of Egypt, and they were 
now attempting by various ingenious expedients to gain the 
favour of the people. Crassus who was Censor, proposed 
to inscribe in the registers of the citizens the inhabitants of 
Transpadane Gaul — a thoroughly democratic idea which 
might be regarded as the natural sequel and conclusion of the 
great popular movement for the emancipation of Italy. Mean- 
while Caesar, who was .iEdile, was trying to take men's breath 
away by prodigies of extravagance, of course at Crassus' expense. 
He had the Capitol, the Forum, and the basiUcas decorated 
with pictures and statues, celebrated the Megalesian and 
Roman games with unprecedented magnificence and gave a 
splendid gladiatorial show in memory of his father, in 
which the fighters for the first time used spears and arrows 
of gold and silver. He further organised, in booths temporarily 
constructed on the Forum and in the basilicas, an exhibition 
of aU the objects used in the games and in the decoration of 
public buildings.t 

But if the Senate had been intimidated by Crassus to close The trophie 
its eyes to the conspiracy, this barefaced bribery now stirred ° *""^' 
the more reactionary Conservatives to indignation. They 
showed particular hostility towards Caesar, who was less power- 

* Memnon, 59. 

t Suet., Caes., lo; Pint., Caes., 5; Dion, xxxvii. 8; Pliny, N. H., 
xxxiii. 3, 53. 


65 B.C. ful than the millionaire ; their old distrust against the nephew 
of Marius, a strange compound of genuine alarm and aristo- 
cratic contempt, was once more awakened. Catulus, the 
most respected figure among the old Conservatives, at length 
found courage to show open resistance. In his capacity^ of 
Censor he opposed the project of Crassus for granting citizen- 
ship to the Transpadanes, and acted with so much vigour that 
Crassus was forced to give up the idea.* But suddenly one 
morning a strange rumour ran through the city. The trophies 
of Marius, which had been removed by Sulla, had been re- 
established on the Capitol during the night. It was Csesar 
who had prepared this surprise,t which was immensely success- 
ful. During the next few days there was a general rush to 
the Capitol to see the trophies of the wars against Jugurtha 
and the Cimbri and gaze on the venerated features of the hero 
whom the nobility had so implacably pursued. Many of 
Marius' veterans were seen to break into tears, as they recalled 
the incidents of their campaigns. The Senate felt its weakness 
in the face of this popular outburst, and did not venture to have 
the trophies removed. But Catulus openly attacked Caesar 
in the Senate, and charged him with attempting to subvert 
the State, no longer by methods of subterranean conspiracy, 
but openly and in the eye of the public. 
Caesar and the This attack by Catulus marks the commencement of the new 
struggle between Caesar and the Conservatives, a struggle 
which was to last for the rest of his Hfe and entail consequences 
of such far-reaching importance. The idea of conciliation 
between the two parties, of which Csesar in his student days 
had been so confident, was now definitely abandoned. Excited 
by these preliminary skirmishes, the Conservatives now redoubled 
their efforts and extended their attacks to Gabinius, whom they 
attempted to prevent from leaving for the East to take up his 
duties as Pompey's subordinate. In this they were unsuccess- 
ful ; J but when Csesar, thinking his ground had been sufficiently 
prepared, at length brought forward with the help of the 
Tribunes the question of the conquest of Egypt, they opposed 
it with an energy which was no longer looked for from the 
Senate. § As Caesar appealed to the will of King Alexander, 
they naturally fought him by throwing doubts upon its authen- 

* Dion, xxxvii., 9. t Suet., Cees., 11 ; Plut., Caes., 6. 

J Drumann, G. R., iii. 44. 

§ Plut., Cras., 13 ; Suet., Cses., 11. Suet, is mistaken as to the 
motives alleged for the expedition, as is clear from Cic, in Leg. Agr., ii. 



ticity ; but they went further, and affirmed that, even granting 65 b.c. 
it to be authentic, Rome had no business to cast longing eyes 
upon every country and pick a quarrel with every nation.* 

This opposition of the small Conservative clique to the pro- The War party 
jects of Caesar and Crassus is significant not so much for its party.* °^" 
immediate as for its more distant consequences. So far the 
party had not adopted a clear attitude towards the new im- 
perialism which had been created by one of its members. It 
had allowed Lucullus freedom of action, but it had opposed 
the ambitions of Pompey and declared them contrary to the 
spirit of the RepubHcan constitution. Upon the policy in 
itself there had as yet been no pronouncement. But from this 
time onwards the Conservative party took a clear stand against 
aggression and expansion, and associated itself with the cause 
of peace, of which Italy must sooner or later feel the need. 

The Conservatives could at first only congratulate themselves FaUure of the 
on their choice of policy. They succeeded without difficulty profed:'.^" 
in checkmating the designs of Crassus and Caesar. Ingenious 
as it was in itself, the scheme for the conquest of Egypt never 
succeeded in taking hold of the popular imagination. The 
promise of cheap food from the granary of the world left the 
public unmoved. There were several reasons for its failure. 
A considerable number of the partisans of Pompey distrusted 
Crassus and refused to support him. Nor was Crassus helped 
by the chance occurrence of any striking incident, like the final 
attack of Mithridates upon Asia, which had been so useful 
to Pompey. The moment, too, was not well chosen. The 
rich classes and especially the financiers, who had hitherto 
favoured and encouraged the Democrats, were beginning to 
fight shy of the violent propaganda of the popular movement 
and the legislation in which it resulted ; they were gradually 
inclining once more to the Conservatives, whose leaders were 
cleverly holding out baits, such for instance as the restoration 
to the knights of the privilege aboHshed by SuUa of sitting 
on the Senatorial seats in the theatre. As for the middle class, 
the late Democratic victories had brought it nothing except 
possibly a general discontent at the excessive debts which it had 
contracted. It was disillusioned, disgusted, and out of spirits. 
Gffisar who had an extraordinary instinct for gauging public 

xvi. f., and he is wrong, too, in thinking that Caesar desired to go to 
Egypt. See in App., C, the reasons for preferring Plutarch's version 
that it was Crassus who desired to go. 
* Cic. de Leg. Agr., ii. xvi„ 42. 


65 B.C. opinion, saw that the agitation had no future and soon induced 
Crassus to abandon the whole project.* 
Italy and the Thus the party conflict increased in violence with every 
mpire. incident in the struggle. And yet it was for shadows and not 

for realities that they were fighting, and the number of com- 
batants diminished as their temper and excitement rose. The 
upper classes were no longer in possession, as at the time of 
the Gracchi, of political and economic advantages which stood 
in the way of middle class development. If in the heyday 
of democracy the traditions of the old era still preserved a few 
exceptional privileges for the last survivors of a glorious nobility, 
if the greater offices were still the appanage of the representa- 
tives of the old historic famihes, yet, regarded as a whole, Italy 
now consisted of one united ruling class bound together by a 
ti6 of mutual advantage for the exploitation of her Empire. 
In the division of the spoil there were doubtless inequalities 
of distribution ; but no class in Italy was totally excluded. 
The son of a small landholder with a large family could enlist 
in the army and make sufficient money to buy a good property 
and a few slaves or to set himself up in business. In the army 
itself the position of Centurion, sometimes also that of Frce- 
fectus Fabrum, or chief of the engineers, was reserved for 
Italians from Tuscany or Romagna or Emilia or the Abruzzi 
or Apulia, men of modest and even humble origin who had 
risen from the ranks by abihty and courage. Anyone who 
had sufficient capital at his disposal could become a contractor 
for public works or military equipment ; he could emigrate 
to Greece or Asia, or stay in the capital and become Tribune, 
^dile, or Quaestor. He could take part in business or in the 
profits of campaigning, or serve as a dependent at Rome to 
some powerful statesman and follow in his escort when he went 
out -to his province. A young man of ability, even if in com- 
paratively straitened circumstances, could generally pick up 
an education : he could then become attached to some political 
chief, and so become an advocate or a consulting lawyer, 
making money by his profession or by bequests, and as much 
celebrity as he desired. The sons of rich financiers found an 
easy entry into political life. Even the very loafers and 
vagabonds made a living out of politics by selling their votes 
in the electoral clubs or acting as clients and spies for the 
leaders of a political group. The Empire in fact supplied 
employment for every one. Officers of every political com- 
• Suet.. Caes., 11. 


plexion took service under popular or aristocratic generals. 65 b.c. 
The chiefs of the two parties were both, on equally friendly 
terms with the financiers ; they used the same means to make 
themselves useful to the middle class, and sought popularity 
by the identical methods of bribery and largesse. The popular 
orators were always declaiming against the abuses of office. 
But this was only a matter of habit or calculation, and was 
seldom intended to be taken literally. Every one knew that 
these abuses were only a necessary corollary to the process of 
exploitation on which Italy was growing rich. The Democratic 
magistrates committed scandals every whit as shameless as 
those attributed to their Conservative colleagues. 

There was endless disputation and endless intrigue ; yet The question 
behind all the rivalry of cliques and individuals there was but ° * 
a single subject upon which the anxiety of thoughtful men was 
centred — the question of debt. Amid the general impatience 
for enjoyment and position, there were thousands who had 
become embarrassed by obligations which they were unable 
to discharge ; and the imperial democracy that held a world 
beneath its sway, from the Senators who bore historic names 
down to the humble tillers of the soil, from Julius Caesar down 
to the smallest shopkeeper in a back street at Rome, was at the 
mercy of a small group of usurers. This ruling gang of pay- 
masters consisted of all sorts and conditions of men, from 
eminent knights Hke Atticus down to miserly middle class 
tradesmen, or freedmen and the sons of freedmen of obscure 
origin and sordid habits, to whom the temptations of spending 
made no appeal. Many a time must an illustrious Senator, 
say Julius Csesar himself, have opened his door to some bent 
and wrinkled old slave, carried to Rome from the East in his 
youth and then set free, who had taken up his abode in the 
metropoUs and Hved only for the hoarding of his treasure. The 
sky was already dark with signs of the approaching storm, 
when a leader suddenly stood forth to propound the all-ab- 
sorbing question from which both parties shrank back equally 



Caesar discredited — Pompey at Amisus — Re-organisation of 
Pontus — Pompey's wealth — Cicero and Catiline candidates 
for the Consulship in 63 — Phases of the contest ; success of 
Cicero and defeat of Catiline — Pompey invades and annexes 
Syria — Pompey and the Parthians— Scaurus and Gabinius 
in Judaea — ^The last dream of Mithridates — The Land Law — 
The political agitation and financial crisis in 64-3 — Hatred of 
the Conservatives for Caesar — ^The first Caesar legend — His 
debts — His intrigues with the wives of the popular leaders — 
Caesar and Pompey's wifeWThe trial of Kabirius — Caesar 
Pontifex Maximus. 

Casar dis- The conspiracy of 66, the agitation for the conquest of Egypt, 
ere te j^^ bribery and indebtedness, and the suspicions aroused by his 

coalition with Crassus had all reacted unfavourably on Csesar's 
reputation. He had alienated the support of many who had 
previously admired him and were disappointed to see him giving 
way to the temptations of political intrigue. The ideal of his 
youthful ambition had now lost its appeal. It was but only 
too manifest that the Aristotelian harmony between aristoc- 
racy and democracy was an impracticable dream. The well- 
to-do classes, preoccupied with their financial embarrassment 
and disgusted by a succession of futile or dangerous political 
agitations, were becoming indifferent or even Conservative 
in their political views : while the popular party was seeking 
its supporters deeper dovra amongst the dregs of the Roman 
population — amongst the bankrupt landlords and merchants 
of Italy and disappointed and desperate outcasts from all 
classes of society. There began to be talk of Land Laws, 
of the abolition of debt, of confiscating the plunder of the 
generals, and other revolutionary measures for the relief of the 
poor. As a reaction against this development, the small clique 
to which the great Conservative party seemed now to be re- 
duced, professed sentiments of the utmost fury and contempt 
against their opponents : though it had no more hopeful 


items in its own programme than the antiquated expedients 64 b.c. 
of massacre, execution and coups d'hat. 

Caesar must often, during this period, have cast envious Pompey's 
eyes on Pompey, so happily removed from these troublesome Imuifsf* 
agitations. Pompey v^as indeed being extraordinarily success- 
ful in the two schemes which had taken him to the East ; he 
was increasing his power and he was amassing an immense 
fortune. By extracting huge sums from the Kings of the East, 
by large organised slave raids, by the sale of the poorer prisoners, 
and the ransoms of the rich,* he had already become as wealthy 
as Crassus. Part of his money he had immediately invested 
in the East, contracting loans at excessive rates of interest 
with small sovereigns who were in debt, such as Ariobarzanes 
the King of Cappadocia.t By this time, after year» of unim- 
peded success, he had become a sort of King of Kings over the 
entire East with an authority such as no Roman had ever 
wielded before him. In the spring of 64 he gave a display of 
his power and magnificence at Amisus, where he had assembled 
a court of kings to distribute pardons and favours in the name 
of Rome. He gave new kings to Paphlagonia and Colchis, 
increased the dominion of the Tetrarchs of Galatia, appointed 
Archelaus, son of the defender of Athens, to be high priest of 
Comana, and divided the territory of Pontus between eleven 
towns, where, under the supervision of the Roman Governor, 
he set up the Republican constitution of a pure Greek ;ri5X(c-!|! 
Like all educated Italians of his day, Pompey regarded Republi- 
can institutions of the Graeco-Italian type as the best of all 
possible governments, and eagerly re-established it among the 
Greek populations freed by Roman arms from the yoke of 
Oriental autocracy. Not content with having successfully 
concluded the task undertaken by Lucullus, he was about to 
seek fresh laurels in the kingdoms of Parthia or Syria. He had 
not yet made up his mind which of the two to invade, but, 
after the fall of Pontus, one or the other was a predestined 
victim. Having now completed his reorganisation of the East, 
Pompey was naturally anxious to put the crown to an achieve- 
ment in which no rival could share his glory. He had wealth, 
power, renown, everything in fact that his heart could desire. 

Ceesar, on the other hand, needed to perform prodigies of The Consular 
ingenuity to avoid capsizing, as he navigated his small craft ®'®'=*'°" '" *3- 
among the democratic rapids. In the early months of the 

* Dion, xxxvii. 20. -f Cic, A., vi. i, 3* 

J App., Mithr., 114 ; Reinach, M. E., 400 ; Mommsen, R. G., iii. 153. 

I P 


64 B.C. year 64, Crassus had revived his old project of securing the 
election of two Consuls pledged to favour his designs ; and, of 
course, it was once more Caesar who was to play the most 
hazardous part in the enterprise. There were seven candidates 
for the Consulship of 63. They were Publius Sulpicius Galba 
and Caius Licinius Sacerdos, two honest but not particularly 
influential nobles ; Caius Antonius Hybrida, who had held 
command under Sulla and been accused of extortion by Caesar 
in 77, and who now came before the electors burdened with 
debt and with all his possessions mortgaged; Quintus Corni- 
ficius and Lucius Cassius Longinus, who were out of the run- 
ning, and finally Cicero and Catiline.* Catiline was a man of 
great abiUty, but exceedingly unscrupulous in his ambitions 
and violent in his methods, who had been attracted to the 
popular party by the intrigue of which he had been the victim 
in 65. 
Cicero adopted A contest between so miscellaneous a selection of candidates 
servative"?' at SO critical a moment was foredoomed to be intricate and full 
of surprises. Cicero at first lost heart on seeing that the 
Conservatives preferred the claims of the two nobles to those 
of an interloper like himself, who was compromised by relations 
with the popular party ; and he had serious thoughts of joining 
forces with Catiline, with whom he was personally acquainted, 
although he was in no way his friend. ■}■ But Crassus and Casar 
were too quick for him. Catiline, with his unsleeping energy 
and bitterness against the Conservatives, and Antonius, who 
was too unprincipled and too penurious to reject a golden 
opportunity, were exactly the instruments that they needed. 
They therefore made terms with these two and prepared to 
lend them vigorous support as the Democratic candidates for 
the Consulship. It looked as if Cicero, who had reached his 
other offices by the unanimous consent of aU parties, would, for 
once, be unanimously rejected. But the Conservatives were so 
alarmed by the prospect of two Consuls pledged to Crassus' 
designs, that in order to have a serious candidate to set against 
Catiline, they offered their support to the parvenu. Abandoned 

* Ascon., in Cic, Tog. Cand. 

t I put aside altogether, as improbable, all that Sallust sa3rs about 
Catiline's second candidature, which he considers an [essential part 
of the second conspiracy. My reasons are those cleverly given by 
John, E. G. C. v.. 738 f. See also Tarentino, C. C, 39 f. It seems 
to me proved beyond question that there was as yet no conspiracy, 
and tba,t Crassus' support of Catiline's candidature arose out of his 
desire to realise his Egjrptiau design. 


by his own party, Cicero, who had for some time been growing 64 b.c. 
disgusted with the excesses of the Democrats, readily consented 
to become the candidate of the Conservatives, without realising 
the dangers which, in a system of party government, threaten 
an honest politician who suddenly changes his party allegiance. 

Both parties now put forth all their strength. Catiline spent cicero and 
a great deal of his own and a great deal more of Crassus' money ; ^ectedl^ 
Caesar used his utmost efforts to help Catiline and the ex- 
general of Sulla whom he had accused thirteen years before ; 
and Crassus mobilised his army of chents, freedmen and default- 
ing tenants. For once the public was thoroughly excited, 
and the elections passed off in the midst of a huge agitation. 
The result bore witness to the perplexity of the voters. Neither 
of the two parties was triumphant, but neither was entirely 
defeated. Catiline, the most dangerous of the popular candi- 
dates, was beaten, but Antonius was successful, with Cicero 
for his colleague. But in any case Crassus had once more been 
checkmated ; for it was of no use to him to have only one of 
the Consuls on his side, particularly as that one was the less 
capable of his two nominees. 

After this excitement a brief truce intervened, and public Ponmey and 
attention was again directed upon Pompey, who had at last *'^® Parthians. 
made up his mind for the invasion of Syria. The majority 
of his staff had strongly urged him to carry out the old designs 
of LucuUus upon Parthia. Perhaps Pompey, who was less of 
a genius but a wiser man than Lucullus, had some inkling that 
the task of conquering the Parthian Empire was beyond his 
strength, and beyond the strength of Rome. If so, it is a 
remarkable proof of his penetration. But there are several 
small facts which indicate that he had not as yet, in 64, so clear 
a vision of the real conditions, and that he continued to hesitate 
between his disUke of leaving the glory of over -running Parthia 
to another and his fear of risking his life in an over-hazardous 
adventure. This, at any rate, seems the best explanation of 
his curious military dispositions. He divided his army into 
two bodies, one of which was to enter Syria under his orders 
by the safe route through CiUcia, while the other, under the 
command of Lucius Afranius, was to occupy Gordiene and 
then to meet him in Syria, after passing through Mesopotamia, 
which was a province of the Parthian Empire.* This violation 
of Parthian territory was a deHberate provocation, and it was 
no doubt intended as a concession to the party which demanded 
* Dion, xxxvii. 5, 6. 


64 B.C. war with Parthia. Unwilling to declare war openly, Pompey 
contented himself with making a military demonstration to 
show the peoples of the East that he had no fear of Parthia 
and would not shrink in case of need from undertaking a 
campaign. These were stiU the aggressive tactics of Lucullus ; 
but they had degenerated by passing into feeble hands. Pompey 
no longer struck quick and boldly like his master ; he preferred 
a more cautious game of fence and parry. 

Pompey Despite its ingenuity, this strategy proved unsuccessful. 

annexes Syna. ^fj-^jiius was Very nearly lost with the whole of his army in 
Mesopotamia,* which he rashly invaded without trustworthy 
guides or accurate knowledge or" adequate preparation. But 
Pompey, who had been clever enough to reserve the easier part 
of the enterprise for himself, accomplished his task without 
risk or hardship. The old kingdom of the Seleucids, once a 
great and conquering power, was now broken up into a large 
number of rival principaHties, no single one of which had the 
courage or the forces to resist the Roman invader.t Pompey 
had only to show his face to be recognised as master. He sent 
troops into Phoenicia and Ccelesyria to occupy Damascus, 
under the command of Aulus Gabinius and Marcus ^mUius 
Scaurus, son of that Marcus ^mUius Scaurus who, himself 
son of a coal-merchant, had become Princeps Senatus. Then 
he proceeded to make a distribution of kingdoms and terri- 
tories. He gave Commagene to Antiochus, whom Lucullus 
had already made King of Syria,t declared Seleucia a free 
city, and promised protection to Antioch in return for a large 
sum which it had paid him.§ He showed generosity towards the 
King of Osroene andtheChief of thelturaean Arabs.|| Finally, 
under the pretext that the national dynasty was extinct, he 
declared Syria a Roman province with the obligation of paying a 
tribute of one-twentieth of its revenues. Pompey had thus, like 
Lucullus, added immense new provinces to the Roman Empire. 

Phraates and Meanwhile new troubles had broken out in his rear. Pro- 
voked by the march of Afranius, yet not daring to attack Pompey 
himself. King Phraates had declared war upon the King of 
Armenia. Tigranes sent to Pompey for aid. Many of his 
* Dion, xxxvii., 5. 

t For the history of the Seleucid Kingdom see The House of Seleucus, 
by E. R. Bevan, London, 1902, These years are dealt with in vol. ii; 
chap. 31. 

J Strabo, xvi. 749 ; App., Mithr., 114. 

§ Strabo, xvi. 751 ; Eutrop., vi. 14 ; Porphj^r., Tyr., in F. H. G., 
iii., p. 716, fr. 26. 

!| Driimann, G. K., iv. 454. 


officers again urged Pompey to invade Parthia and incorporate 64 b.c. 

it in the Empire. But if the march of Afranius had caused 

alarm to Phraates, his narrow escape had made a very lively 

impression upon Pompey. Rejecting the foolhardy counsels 

of his officers he decided to adopt a more reasonable attitude 

towards the King of Parthia and to curb his own ambitions. 

He contented himself with despatching three commissioners 

to decide the question which had risen between the two Kings.* 

Meanwhile Scaurus and Gabinius had found a perfect goldmine 

in Judaea, where a Civil War was raging between two members 

of the royal family of the Asmonaeans, Aristobulus and Hyrca- 

nus. Both had sent appeals to the Roman generals to ask for 

their assistance. It was granted to Aristobulus on payment of 

nearly two millions to Scaurus and nearly a million and a 

half to Gabinius. t 

While conquest thus succeeded conquest in some of the The last dream 
richest regions of the world, no one suspected that at three ° ' " * *'• 
score and ten and in the depths of the Crimea, Mithridates 
stUl dreamt of renewing the enterprise of Hannibal. He had 
spent the whole of the year 64 in recruiting a small army. 
His plan of campaign showed all or more than all his old 
audacity. He intended to march along the north coast of 
the Black Sea, attracting the Sarmatians and Bkstarnse to his 
standard as he passed, thence up the valley of the Danube, 
where the Celts would join him ; then, crossing Pannonia, [Croatia and 
he would hurl himself at the head of a powerful army into the Carmoia.] 
plain of Italy.! What induced him to adopt this extra- 
ordinary-plan ? It is just possible that he may have kept 
himself informed from the Crimea of the situation in Italy 
or that he hoped to rekindle the social war by inflaming the 
passions of the two parties at Rome. We shall probably be 
safer in attributing his scheme to the ambition or monomania 
of a veteran campaigner who refused to submit to his destiny. 
We are not in a position to decide. But this much is certain. If 
Mithridates had been in constant communication with Italy, he 
could only have been inspired with a fresh energy for his project. 

Meanwhile the ItaUans were as unconscious as Pompey and ?"^°W'.f,°^* 
his Syrian army of this storm cloud|in the North. All eyes 
were now turned upon the wild and confused social conflict 
which was being fought out under the shadow of the Capitol. 

* Dion, xxxvii. 6, 7 ; App., Mithr., 106. 

t Joseph.; A. J., xiv. 2, 3; 3, 2. 

J App., Mithr., 109 ; Dion, xxxvii. 11 ; Plut., Pomp.,''4i. 


64 B.C. The truce which followed the elections did not last for long. 
It was probably during November that a report began to circu- 
late through Rome which produced lively excitement in all 
classes. The Tribunes of the people were said to be preparing 
a Land BiU.* The rumour was significant. Since Sulla's 
Dictatorship, no one at Rome had even ventured to mention 
the name of a Land BiU. The popular party must be very 
confidentof its strength to be rekindling a brand that had already 
so often been snatched from its grasp. Soon afterwards men 
saw the Tribunes, and more especially the projected proposer 
of the Bill, a certain PubUus Rullus, adopting strange disguises, 
appearing in public with dishevelled hair and unshorn beard, 
and dressed in rags.t This masquerading was a still more 
ominous symptom. The measure must be revolutionary indeed if 
the Tribunes began courting the worst section of the electorate 
by adopting its dress. But great as was the excitement among 
the Conservatives, it was nothing to that felt by Cicero. 
Cicero as a, Cicero was not a man of action. J He was untouched by 

poiitidaiL the two great passions, love of money and love of power, which 
drive men to face the perils of great social conflicts. He was 
an artist of the first rank, an incomparable writer, a man of 
delicate sensibihty, lively imagination and strong and subtle 
intellect, whose supreme ambition was not to amass wealth or 
to exercise authority over his equals, but to win admiration. 
Apart from these great intellectual qualities and this cha- 
racteristic ambition, he reproduced the distinctive traits which 
centuries of submission had imprinted on the Italian middle 
class from which he sprung. He had the same frugal and 
cautious habits, the same almost morbid disdain for luxury, 
combined vdth great strictness in private life, strong family 
affections, and a somewhat exaggerated respect for aristocracy 
and wealth. The public life of his time, with its violence and 
its unrealities, its bitterness and its treachery, with the cynical 
opportunism and frivolous ostentation of its leading men, 
and the avowed self-interest and unscrupulousness of its 
parties, offended against all his deeper instincts. So well, 
indeed, had he realised this himself that he had hitherto been 
quite satisfied to remain the greatest orator and lawyer in 
Rome, and had only sought public office because he had 
obtained it unopposed. 

Thus Cicero had calculated upon his Consulship as a pleasant 

* Cic, in Leg. Agr., ii. v,, 11. ^ Id., 13. 

J Boissier, Ciceron et sen amis, p. 38. 


continuation of this tranquil career and as a graceful recogni- 63 b.c. 
tion of his eminent services to literature. If he had accepted 
the support of the Conservatives, he had not in the least desired cicero rebafied 
to compromise his popularity with the people. He wished to Tnbunes. 
preserve, even as Consul, his privileged place in public life 
as a statesman above party. Unfortunately the impending 
Land BiU involved a policy of this sort in a serious dilemma. 
However conciliatory his attitude, it would scarcely be possible 
to please all parties. Confident in his prestige, Cicero was at 
least prepared to try. He visited the Tribunes and told them 
that he too was desirous of doing something useful for the people 
and that they might very well work in common. To his 
unfeigned surprise, his advances were by no means welcomed. 
The Tribunes, not without a certain pointed irony, refused to 
give him any information about the projected BiU and declared 
that they had no need of his services.* After this rebuff, 
Cicero was forced to wait for the details of the BiU until, 
towards the end of December, RuUus read it out to the people. 
The law was more complicated and revolutionary than its 
predecessors upon similar lines, and contained many clauses 
whose obscure terminology was very alarming to the Con- 
servatives and the wealthy classes. It instituted a sort of 
economic Dictatorship of ten commissioners chosen by the 
seventeen tribes for five years with fuU powers, and exempt 
from the Tribunician Veto. These commissioners had power 
to seU, both in and outside Italy, aU property that had faUen 
in to the State in and after the year 88, together with aU 
property whose sale had been discussed in the Senate since the 
year 81. They had also power to make an inventory of the 
booty of aU generals with the exception of Pompey, to force 
them to give back what they had taken, and with the money 
accruing from these sales and from the spoUs of the generals, 
to buy land in Italy to distribute among the poor.f 

Cicero guessed at once, and rightly, that RuUus was acting Aims of 
in the interests of Crassus and Csesar-i It is quite impossible c^a"* *'"' 
that at a time when Crassus and Caesar were controUing the 
poUcy of the popular party, an obscure Tribune should have 
been bold enough to propose so revolutionary a law without 
the secret support of his chiefs. Moreover it is difficult to 
see what aim the Tribune could have had in proposing such 

* Cic, Leg. Agr., ii. v. 

t Drumann, G. R., iii. 148-9. 

I Cf. Cic, Leg. Agr., i. i,, i ; L v,, 16 ; ii. xvii,, 44 ; ii. xvii,, 46 


63 B.C. a law upon his own initiative. It is probable that Crassus 
and Caesar were purstiing a double end. They were endeavour- 
ing at once to rob Cicero of his popularity and to raise anew, 
under a different form, the great question of Egypt.* Once 
elected commissioners, Caesar and Crassus would be able to 
declare that amongst the property that had fallen into the State 
since the year 88 were the possessions of the Ptolemies, which 
had been bequeathed with the kingdom of Egypt by Alexander 
II. in 81 ; by making use of the enormous powers of corruption 
that the Land Law placed in their hands they could then 
make war upon Egypt to recover them. They might expect 
the people at last to conjure up some enthusiasm for the annexa- 
tion of Egypt, when it knew that the profits to be derived from 
it would be used for buying up land. 
The Conser- Once this is explained, it is easy to understand why Crassus 
UmJTLaw**''* ^^^ Caesar had the BiU proposed by a Tribune instead of openly 
coming forward as its promotors. A BiU so revolutionary in 
its scope wounded too many susceptibilities and alarmed too 
many interests. The Conservatives saw in the new commis- 
sioners a sort of disguised Dictatorship of the Democratic chiefs. 
It was resented by the generals who had amassed large fortunes 
in the recent wars, by the tax-farmers who had leased public 
lands in Bithynia and Pontus, the sale of which would come 
under discussion, by all those, in short, who had profited most 
from the conquests of LucuUus and Pompey, and who were 
now to be despoiled for the benefit of the distressed pro- 
letariat. The result of the conflict which was inevitable 
before such a law could be approved must have appeared so 
dubious that neither Crassus nor Caesar were willing to set their 
reputation and prospects at stake. Indeed the Conservatives 
and the wealthy classes took up the struggle with enthu- 
siasm. They began by exaggerating the revolutionary aspect 
of the law. They declared that it would entail a general 
liquidation of the State property, because the commissioners 
would include in it the public estates in Greece and Asia, on 
the pretext that these provinces had been reconquered by 
Sulla after 88.-f- Attempts were made to frighten all who had 
bought the goods of persons proscribed by Sulla by persuading 
them that the law would be enforced against their property. 
Some colour was lent to this assertion by a proposal of RuUus 
to annul the civic penalties pronounced by SuUa against the 

* Cicero says so outright. Leg. Agr„ i. i., i ; ii. xvi., 41 ; ii. xvii., 44. 
t Cic, in Leg. Agr., i. ii., 5 ; ii. xv., 39. 


sons of the proscribed.* In spite of his desire to stand well 63 b.c. 
with all parties, Cicero was thus forced by circumstances to 
defend the interests of his friends the knights and the cause 
of Conservatism. 

This was the first great encounter of his Consulship, and he The "pe lege 
emerged with flying colours. Caesar and Crassus were pro- ^srana- 
foundly mistaken in thinking that a bill of so serious and revo- 
lutionary a character had any chance o^ being proposed with 
success by an obscure and incapable Tribune — a man of straw 
who had neither the prestige nor the abihty to counteract such 
a combination of interests. Nobles, knights and generals, all 
prospective victims of the law, joined vigorously in the cam- 
paign, and the Tribunes were unable either to baffle their 
intrigues or to stir the unruffled composure of the people. 
By their reluctance to throw themselves openly into the 
struggle Caesar and Crassus had done no more than provide 
the Consul with a magnificent opening for his gifts. Cicero 
secured the rejection of the Bill at the Assembly by the delivery 
of two orations, pitched in his most democratic key, in which 
he declared that his ambition was to be a great popular Consul,f 
and gave himself out as a sincere admirer of the Gracchi and 
the old Land Laws, which had been truly designed for the good 
of the people. He declared that he opposed the measure of 
RuUus because it was contrary to the popular interest and 
injured rather than assisted the prosperity of the poorer classes. J 

Cjesar and Crassus thus had once more received a check. The Tribunes 
Decidedly their democratic propaganda was not prospering a^tSSfn.' * 
as it should. But they were far from being ready to acknowledge 
defeat ; there were other questions to be raised which might 
yet serve to inflame the passions of the people and cause Cicero 
greater embarrassment to dismiss. One after the other the 
Tribunes of the people introduced revolutionary proposals. 
One Tribune demanded nothing less than the abolition of aU 
debts ; another desired that the penalties pronounced against 
Publius Autronius and Publius Sulla, the conspirators of 66,^ 
should be revoked. Yet all these attempts seemed somehow 
to miss fire. No one was prepared to take this sort of proposal 
seriously and the appeals of the Tribunes feU upon deaf ears. 

Yet Caesar and Crassus had not entirely misjudged the 
situation. These feints and manoeuvres, if they effected 

* Cic, in Leg. Agr., ii. iv., 10. t ^'^■. ii- i^., 9. 

J Id., iv. 10. 

§ Dion, xxxvii. 25 ; Lange, R. A;, iii. 230. 

63 B.C. 

The financial 

Cssar as a 


nothing else, increased the exasperation of the Conservatives 
and the general feehng of insecurity among all classes in the 
community.* The capitaUsts grew uneasy and hesitated 
to make investments. Money, scarce enough at ordinary 
times, became dearer and dearer. Many debtors found them- 
selves in the gravest embarrassment. According to the severe 
regulations which were then in use regarding mortgage, if the 
debtor was unable punctually to meet his obligations, the 
creditor was entitled to take possession of the property mort- 
gaged, even if it were two or three times the value of the amount 
lent. Many people who were unable to raise the money 
necessary to pay off their interest or reimburse the capital 
they had borrowed, were forced to part at ridiculous prices, 
with their lands, their houses, their jewels, or their works of 
art. There was a rapid fall in prices throughout the market 
from which all classes suffered in varying degrees. Among 
those who felt it most were the rich Senators who were no longer 
able to raise the large sums necessary for the complicated 
administration of their huge hereditary estates. f 

All this led to the outbreak of a lively agitation, not only 
among the politicians of the Conservative party, but among 
the whole of the wealthy class. The responsibility for the 
depression was thought to rest with the Tribunes and their 
masters ; but, if Crassus was shielded by his wealth, his in- 
fluence and the awe with which he inspired his creditors, no 
such consideration was felt for the unhappy Csesar. Caesar 
was poor, he was unpopular, and he was deeply in debt. More- 
over he had no powerful relatives to stand by him. It is 
probable that the aristocratic connections that he had made 
by his marriage were by now gradually falling away from his 
side. As to the members of his own family, they continued 
to ally their fortunes with parvenus in hopes of recovering 
some of the money wasted by Caesar's extravagance. It was 
probably with this object that one of his nieces had lately 
married a certain Caius Octavius, the wealthy son of a usurer 
at VeUetri, who was using his father's fortune to make friends 
in Roman society and to pave the way for a political career. 
It was therefore simple enough to spare Crassus and reserve 
all the stripes for Caesar. This convenient and satisfactory 

* Cic, in Leg. Agr., i. viii., 23 ; ii. iii,, 8. 

t For this financial crisis see Val. Max., iv. 8, 3. Though it came 
to a head a year later, at the time of the conspiracy of Catiline, it must 
have begun earlier. 


operation was so frequently performed as to give rise to the 63 b.c. 
very natural question : was not Caesar actually paid|by Crassus 
to bare his back for a double share of the whippings ? 

It is probably this year that marks the invention of the first The&stCassar 
Caesar legend, the story in which, by no very exaggerated process ^^*° ' 
of distortion, Caesar appears as the representative of aU the vices 
of the modern mercantile epoch, the symbol of all that most 
shocked the old Latin conscience in the " new manners." 
No doubt he was in debt : but Conservative gossip made his 
liabilities mount up to fabulous figures : men talked of 
millions.* Again, Cxsar had of course, reahsed what enormous 
power was dispensed by the women of his day in the family 
circle,t and he had certainly tried to make friends with the 
wives of Crassus, Pompey, Gabinius, and the other popular 
chiefs ; he was a frequent guest, for instance, at the house of 
Servilia, the widow of the Marcus Junius Brutus who perished 
in the Revolution of 78, and sister of Cato, a clever aq^ in- 
fluential woman who had found a second husband in Decimus 
Julius Silanus. None of these women, with the exception of 
Pompey's wife, Mucia, appear to have been his mistress. J 
Yet, in Conservative gossip, the legend of Caesar's amours 
soon took its place beside the legend of his debts, and he was 
accused of carrying on intrigues simultaneously with Servilia 
and with the wives of Pompey, Crassus, and Gabinius, in short 
with the wives of all the leaders of the popular party. His 
relations with Mucia were the subject of particularly biting 
sarcasms. It was now clear as dayUght why Caesar had been 
so enthusiastic in his support of the Gabinian and Manilian 
laws. All that he wanted was to despatch on a distant mission 
the husband of the fair but fickle Mucia. Caesar had in fact 
become for the Conservatives the incarnation of all the new 
abominations of the time : the young libertine who gains his 
ends through women, the unscrupulous bankrupt, whose debts 
drive him into crime, the adventurer who to satisfy his greed 

* Plut., Caes., 5, says that according to common talk, Caesar con- 
tracted 1300 talents of debt before the beginning of his political career. 
The figures are so high that it is impossible to believe them. More- 
over, Plutarch offers no guarantee of their truth. They belong to 
the legendary figures invented by the Conservatives. 

t Ciccotti, P. v.. 20 f. 

J Suet., Cses., 50. It is to these years, before his departure for 
Gaul, that the story of these intrigues must refer. But four at a time 
seem rather an excessive number, even for Caesar. Nevertheless, for 
reasons which will be given later, it is probable that he was the lover 
of the wife of Pompey. 

63 B.C. 

Cssar's dan- 

The prosecu- 
tion of 


and ambition is prepared to go the length of overturning the 
commonwealth. Yet legend may sometimes assume the ini- 
portance of history ; and the absurd exaggerations of his 
enemies were gradually to drive Caesar to transform some of 
these imaginary vices into the real revolutionary forces of his 

These attacks put Caesar on his mettle. He was indeed 
in a position of real danger. If the agitation were to provoke 
the outbreak of disorders and the Senate were prevailed upon 
to decree a state of siege, he might easily perish like the Gracchi 
and Saturninus. The contemplation of the fate that had 
befallen his forerunners in the party could not help causing 
their natural successor, both in policy and popularity, the 
liveliest disquiet. Caesar with his energy, his quickness of 
apprehension and his extraordinary lucidity of judgment, 
at once saw the line of safety. His best defence was to startle 
his opponents by some stroke of propagandist daring. But 
to do this successfully he must shift his ground. He must 
abandon the field of economic reform and Land legislation 
for a more purely poUtical issue. This would not only be less 
dangerous in itself, but it would give far greater scope for a 
genuine popular agitation : it was never difficult to stir the 
jealous and ignorant proletariat against their masters the 

He succeeded in trumping up a political question of a very 
curious kind. In an obscure corner of Rome there lived an 
old Senator named Caius Rabirius, who was said to have kiUed 
with his owm hand a Tribune of the people, thirty-seven years 
before, at the time of the riots of Saturninus. Of course 
there was no one who stUl remembered the details. Caesar 
hunted him out and suddenly had him accused of perduellio 
by a certain Titus Atius Labienus, a newcomer in politics, who 
was one of his adherents and was at that time Tribune of the 
people. He then secured that the Praetor, also an accomplice, 
should send the case before two judges, of whom he himself 
would be one. Rabirius was of course declared guilty ; * and 
the penalty for perduellio was death. The Conservatives were 
stirred to action, quite as much by Csesar's unheard of audacity 

* The historians (Drumann, G. R., iii. 162 ; Mommsen, E. G., iii. 
169), have not detected the relation between this prosecution, 
the disorders of the time, and the critical position of Caesar at this 
moment. They are wrong in considering the trial simply as an attempt 
on Caesar's part to make the Conservatives respect the existing laws 
with regard to political offences. 


as by anxiety for the fate of the unfortunate old Senator. 63 b.c. 
Rabirius appealed to the people, and Cicero readily undertook 
his defence. In tones of impassioned eloquence he told the 
people that the object aimed at in the agitation was not the The Pro 
head i of i the unhappy Rabirius, but the weakening of all ties ■**'""°- 
that held together the established order, so as to pave the way 
more easily for a complete overthrow of the State.* But the 
people, who had remained cold over the Land Law, were now 
thoroughly in earnest ; the memories of the great revolution 
had stirred their blood, and Rabirius would certainly have 
been condemned if a Praetor had not hit upon an ingenious 
excuse for dissolving the assembly.f Caesar, who was not 
thirsting for the life-blood of Rabirius, let the old man go 
in peace. His object had been fuUy attained. He had cooled 
the enthusiasm that the Conservatives had been displaying 
for a state of siege and " short work with the demagogues," 
and he had shown them how easy it was, even after a lapse of 
thirty-seven years, to excite the anger of the people against 
the mere suggestion of SuUan methods. 

About this time the post of Pontif ex Maximus became Caesar made 
vacant through the death /of Metellus Pius. It was a lifelong la'aLlmns. 
office, the holder of which had the supreme direction of the 
official religion and the privilege of living in a public residence. 
The right of electing the Pontifex had been taken away from 
the people by SuUa and restored to the CoUege of Pontiffs. 
Caesar, whose daring seemed to keep pace with his danger, 
conceived the idea of re-introducing, by a law which Labienus 
was to propose, the popular election of the Pontifex Maximus 
and of coming forward himself as candidate. If he succeeded 
in becoming the head of the established religion, a Consul 
would scarcely dare to make away with him in a massacre on 
the procla^lation of a state of siege. There were several dis- 
tinguished personages, amongst others Catulus and PubHus 
Servilius Isauricus, standing for the office. These eminent 
persons thought it an excellent jest when they heard that a 
man under forty, a bankrupt atheist, mixed up with aU the 
vulgarest demagogues in Rome, and a devotee of the astronomy 
of Hipparchus, was a candidate with them for so blamelessly 
Conservative a post. Catulus even ventured to insult Caesar 

* Cic, Pro Ea.b. Perd., ii. 4 ; xii. 23. 

t He struck the flag on the Janiculum, which was the signal in early 
Roman times of an attack of the Etruscans, and involved the suspen- 
sion of all public business. 


63 B.C. by offering him money for the abandonment of his candida- 
ture.* The suggestion that he was no more than a common 
hireling touched Caesar to the quick. He threw himself into 
the conflict with the impetuosity of a man who feels that his 
whole career is at stake, and assisted by the substantial advances 
of Crassus and by his skill in all the arts of political seduction, 
fought his campaign so successfully, that the mode of election 
was changed, and he was finally elected Pontifex Maximus.'j' 

* Plut., CffiS., 7. t Veil., ii. 43 ; Dion, xxxvii. 37. 



Death of Mithridates — ^The elections for 62 — Second candida- 
ture of Catiline — His election programme ; the abolition of 
debt — Success of the programme and dismay of the upper 
classes — Panic among financiers and politicians at Rome — 
Alliance between Conservatives and capitalists — Cicero the 
Conservative leader — The intrigues and scandals of the 
electoral struggle — ^The last expedient of the Conservatives — 
Defeat of CatiUne — Beginning of the conspiracy — Intrigues to 
secure the proclamation of a state of siege — ^Denunciations by 
Crassus — Catiline's last attempts at Rome — ^His departure — 
The conspiracy at Rome — ^Negotiations with the AUobroges — 
Arrest of the conspirators — ^The 3rd, 4th, and 5th of December 
63. The trial and punishment of the conspirators — Attitude 
of Italy towards the conspiracy — Close of the revolutionary 

The Conservatives found some slight consolation for these Triumph of 
rebuffs in a small success. They at length succeeded in passing '-'"=°''°^- 
a decree for the triumph of Lucullus. The pro-Consul wfas 
aUov?ed to enter Rome at the head of his soldiers. But in 
spite of the hundred thousand barrels of wine which he dis- 
tributed among the people to celebrate the occasion,* it was 
a frigid and cheerless ceremony. One would have thought 
that it was only some obscure commander returning from a 
paltry expedition against barbarians and not the teacher of 
the new imperialism now so much in vogue, and the originator 
of the conquests and the glories of Pompey. But Lucullus 
cared little for the noise of notoriety. After ten years in the 
East he re-entered his father's house disgusted with mankind, 
deaf to the plaudits of the masses, and prepared to find a con- 
genial reward for his achievements in the enjoyment of his 
riches and the respectful admiration of his peers. But worse 
awaited him at home. He discovered that Clodia, the wife 
he had married without a dowry, had committed incest with 

* PUny, N. H., xiv. 14, 96. 


63 B.C. her brother Publius Clodius, the man who had suborned his 
legions.* He cast her forth in horror. 
Death of In the spring of this same year a petty revolution rid the 

Mithridates. foj-^^jj^te Pompey of Mithridates. His son Pharnaces, his 
own soldiers and the people of the Crimea, alarmed by his 
project for the invasion of Italy, turned against the heroic 
old monarch and forced him to commit suicide. 
Genius against Thus ended a man who to the ability, the energy and the 
orKanisation. faring of a self-made adventurer united the unmeasured pride 
and the unchallenged egoism of an Eastern potentate, for 
whom personal success is the supreme law of the world. Like 
Hannibal before him, he had risked his life on a single-handed 
struggle against Rome and Italy. But once again the single 
fighter, powerful though he was, and in spite of the encourage- 
ment of opening successes, retired broken and exhausted before 
the forces of a system. As Hannibal had failed to beat down 
the Roman aristocracy strengthened by centuries of national 
life, so Mithridates had failed to beat down the young and 
vigorous Italian people. In vain had he conceived the auda- 
cious project of destroying his enemy by kindling all round 
her, throughout the Mediterranean and in Italy itself, the 
most extensive and devastating outburst of revolution that 
the ancient world had ever seen. The son of the man who had 
dreamed of being the Emperor of the East was content to 
accept, as a gift from the conqueror, the petty principality 
of the Crimea. Genius had once more to succumb before 
organisation, before the concerted action of those manifold 
political and military forces in which, despite the shock and 
havoc of crisis after crisis, Italy was still so powerful. We need 
not lament his fate. If the Italian democracy was often un- 
principled and lawless, the unbridled absolutism of Pontus 
with its mercenary bureaucracy was far more consistently 
and consciously perverse. No other reason indeed is adequate 
to explain the sudden coUapse of this powerful and extensive 
Graeco-Asiatic Empire. It was already undermined when the 
Romans attacked it by the corruption of its officials, the decad- 
ence of its dynasty, the self-indulgent civilisation of the HeUen- 
ised East, and all the attractive and insidious depravities which 
were only just beginning to infect and enfeeble the more old- 
fashioned morality of the Italian people. 

The news of Mithridates' death was received at Rome 
with clamorous rejoicings. It formed a new title of glory for 
* Cic, Pro Mil... xxvii. 73 ; Plut., Cic, 29. 


Pompey, to whom the popular party gave credit for every 63 b.c. 
success in those regions. Caesar who was anxious to be on 
good terms with Pompey, hastened to urge the people to Pompey and 
decree the most solemn honours in his favour.* Then the *''® ■'*"*■ 
reports from the East again began to grow monotonous. Pompey 
was traversing Phoenicia and Coelesyria, taking ransom from 
the petty chieftains.f He had met with no resistance except 
from a small town called Jerusalem amongst a petty nation 
with whom the Romans had since the year 139J been on amica- 
ble terms. But the difficulty which faced Pompey here was 
a mere trifle. The two monarchs of the Jews, who were 
engaged in fighting one another and from whom Scaurus and 
Gabinius had already extracted their pile of treasures, had now 
had recourse to Pompey. After some hesitation, and on the 
promise of a substantial sum, Pompey had decided to come 
to the assistance of Aristobulus ; but when Gabinius came to 
Jerusalem to fetch the money, a popular outbreak compelled 
him to fly, and Pompey had been forced to lay siege to the 

The public had no time to pay attention to this little war, Meteiiai and 
for the political struggle in Italy was now growing greatly in shfp. 
violence. The year 63 was to be a year of Conservative panics. 
Already in the spring they witnessed the arrival in Rome of 
a prospective candidate for the Tribuneship in Quintus 
MeteUus Nepos, brother-in-law of Pompey, and one of his 
generals. II This MeteUus was son of the Consul of 98, nephew 
of the conqueror of the Balearic Islands, and great-nephew of 
MeteUus Macedonicus.^ He thus belonged to one of the 
greatest families in Rome, but Uke many other members of the 
aristocracy he had foUowed Pompey on to the popular side, 
in the hope of hastening his promotion and filHng his coffers. 
The numerous escort of slaves and baggage animals which came 
home with him showed that his second object at least had been 
successfuUy achieved. 

The arrival of MeteUus produced a great sensation among the Cato stands 
Conservatives. It was generaUy thought that he was pursuing Tribuneship. 
his candidature in concert with Pompey, and that Pompey 
must therefore have some special object in view. Men anxiously 
enquired what this object might be. So great was the 

* Lange, R. A., iii. 256. t Joseph., A. J., xiv. 3, 2. 

X Castelli, Gli Ebrei., p. 280. 

I Joseph., A. J., xiv. 3, 4. Castelli, p. 280. 

II Hut., Cat., v. 20. IT Drumann, G. R., ii. 16, 29, f. 



63 B.C. disquietude that it was decided to put forward a Conservative 
candidate for the Tribuneship, a thing which had not been 
done for jrears. But what Conservative was ready to face 
the risks of an almost desperate contest ? Among the Conserva- 
tives as among the Democrats, there was no great store of 
earnest and honourable partisans. In default of a better candi- 
date it was decided to fall back on a man for whom the Conser- 
vatives entertained a distrust not unmixed with ridicule — on 
Cato, that isolated and whimsical figure whom we have already 
seen protesting against the fashionable elegance of his con- 
temporaries. He was a man of narrow views but unswerving 
consistency, upright, virtuous, inflexible, without fear and 
without reproach, an enemy of compromise on any question 
and with any person. It was only his supreme contempt for 
his opponents that could have induced this most obscurantist 
of Conservatives to attempt the incongruous enterprise of 
standing just now for so popular an office as the Tribuneship. 
But the danger from Metellus was pressing, and Caesar too had 
just announced his candidature for the Prsetorship. Here 
were two great reasons for alarm ; and a third soon came to 
reinforce them. 
Catiline's eiec- CatUine was once more standing as candidate for the Consul- 
gramme" ship, and garnishing his menu to meet the public taste. He 
promised, if elected, to propose a measure dispensing all debtors 
from paying their creditors.* It cannot be denied that this 
savoured somewhat of revolution : yet it is mistaken to regard 
it as a deliberate preparation for what afterwards developed 
into the famous conspiracy. Catiline was still simply trying 
to court popularity hj a proposal which, detestable though 
it appeared to capitalists and creditors, was far from displeasing 
to the majority of citizens, a proposal which, however violent 
and categorical in form, was not very different from that of a 
Socialist member to-day who should promise his electors to 
reduce the interest on the national debt to 2 per cent., or from 
that of Mr. Bryan when he stood for the Presidency of the 
United States with the programme that debts contracted in 
gold should be paid in silver. The reduction and abolition of 
debt had been frequent incidents in the history of Greece, 
which was being so closely studied at Rome at this time. Nor 
was it unknown even in the Roman annals, from the very 

* It is cleaj: that this was his programme from Sail., Cat., 16 and 
33 ; Cic, in Cat., ii. viii.-x. ; Id., F. v. 6, 2. See John, E. G. C. V., 
739 *• 


earliest times down to the last attempt in 86. Moreover 63 b.c. 
it is an expedient to which all nations tend periodically 
to recur when they find themselves staggering beneath the 
weight of their obligations. Catiline was in fact merely 
following up the Democratic propaganda of Crassus and Caesar 
by the selection of a project no more revolutionary, but simpler 
and more definite, than the Land Bill of Rullus. This time 
there would be no misunderstanding among the electorate. 
The plain offer to relieve them from their debts could not fail 
to rouse them. 

It is highly probable, though there is no evidence for the sup- His relations 
position, that CatiUne first endeavoured to act in concert with and'crasafs. 
Caesar and Crassus, but failed to arrive at a satisfactory agree- 
ment. No reasons are preserved to us for his ill-success. It 
may be that Crassus and Caesar, disillusioned by the fate of 
the Land BiU, despaired of attaining their objects by so danger- 
ous a means. Both were revolutionaries of a very cautious 
and tentative order, and unwilling to be compromised with 
the demagogues of the gutter. It must never be forgotten 
that Crassus was one of the greatest creditors in Rome. It is 
likely enough that, placed in the dilemma of risking either the 
loss of his money or the failure of his pet project, he made up 
his mind to postpone Egypt once more.* 

Catiline was forced to proceed by himself. He threw himself Catiline's new 
into the battle with the energy of despair, resolved, if necessary ^^ ^' 
to expend the whole of his fortune. The experiment of launch- 
ing his revolutionary propaganda into a society already seething 
with discontent was instantaneously successful. His proposal 
so exactly harmonised with the secret desires of a large section 
of the population that their author leapt at once into un- 
expected popularity. He found ardent and enthusiastic 
supporters in the most diverse quarters — amongst the dissi- 
pated youth and the decadent aristocracy of Rome, among 
the poor in aU parts of Italy, and even among the middle class 
of well-to-do proprietors, whom the passion for speculation 
had driven deep into debt.t Where RuUus had only ruffled 
the surface, Catiline moved society to the depths. It was 
not long before he had gathered round him a band of devoted 
partisans at Rome and in many of the towns of Italy : old 

* John, E. G. C. v., p. 739 f., and Tarentino, C. C, 72, n. 2, have 
shown that Caesar and Crassus took no part in the agitation still less 
in the conspiracy of Catiline. 

f See the important passage in Cic.,Cat.,ii, viii,, 18. Also Sail., Cat., 
16-17 ; Cic, Pro. Cael., v. 11. 


63 B.C. soldiers and settlers of Sulla's army, like Caius Manlius from 
Fiesole, inglorious prodigals from the middle classes, well-to-do 
[FsEsute.] landlords from small country towns,* needy nobles like Publius 
Lentulus Sura, Caius Cethegus, Publius SuUa, Marcus Fortius 
Laeca and Sempronia, an extravagant and fashionable lady 
in the best society, the wife of Decimus Brutus, the Consul of 
77-j- — in short a whole company of light-headed adventurers, 
who set themselves to the task of expropriating the rich as 
though it were the easiest thing in the world, to be carried 
through in peace and comfort by the constitutional method 
of legislation, approved by the majority of the electors. 
The new coaii- This pleasant illusion was soon to be dispelled. The danger 
sus°ordtau^"" of an aboHtion of debt seemed so stupendous that it grouped 
together in a coalition two bodies of men who had for the last 
half century regarded one another with distrust and contempt. 
It provoked an aUiance between the knights and the respectable 
aristocrats, who still clung to the wealth and the traditions of 
older days. The capitalists had at first regarded the whole 
movement with contempt. But when they saw how it gained 
ground with the people, they began to feel uncomfortable. 
Before long discomfort had developed into anxiety, anxiety 
into dismay and even into panic. The whole political situation 
thus underwent a complete and sudden transformation. 
Goaded on by their fears, the knights threw off their habitual 
indifference to poUtics, and declared themselves ready to give 
help by aU means in their power to the party which stood for 
the defence of law and property. The group of respectable 
aristocrats, though scarcely threatened by the law of Catiline, 
readily joined hands wdth the wealthy knights, partly out of 
a vague feeling for order and security, partly through their 
detestation of a propaganda which aimed at uprooting all 
established institutions. A coalition was thus speedily formed 
which had for its object, not merely the defeat of Catiline at 
the elections, but also, as it was said, the re-establishment of 
the reign of authority, tranquillity and order in a State infested 
by the upholders of robbery, sedition, and crime. Catiline was 
only one of a huge gang of revolutionaries, although admittedly, 
in the circumstances, he was by far the most dangerous. It 
was a moment of triumph for the champions of reaction. 
Even the knights, who, in their pique against the nobles, were 
generally indifferent and sometimes even favourable to the 
popular party, now lamented their nonchalance in allowing 
* Drumann, G. R., v. 416. t Sail., Cat., 17 and 25. 


free play to revolutionary daring, and gladly recognised the 63 b.c. 
necessity of a return to firm and efficient government. 

Catiline and his supporters had thus to face a far greater Dearness of 
resistance than they had ever expected. Against them were "°°^y- 
arrayed both Conservatives and knights. Yet, unfortunately 
for the coalition, the very excess of their precautions had tended 
rather to intensify the perils that they apprehended. In the 
midst of all this excitement trade and enterprise were at a 
standstill ; money grew alarmingly dear and the failure of 
debtors became increasingly frequent.* But this only provided 
fresh material for the propaganda of CatiHne and gave debtors 
a more lively sense of the necessity of a revolution to secure 
their freedom. The capital and the country were soon reduced 
to a state of absolute chaos, during which Crassus took fright 
and disappeared from Rome and Caesar discreetly kept aloof 
from affairs. 

Caesar's temperament indeed affords a curious study in Psychology of 
nervous psychology. It seems as though he were perpetually '-^^*'"- 
oscillating between opposite extremes, between an excess of 
temerityjand an excess of caution. No sooner had he permitted 
some gust of passion or foolhardy caprice to carry him into a 
position of real danger than he turned back, no matter how 
successful his attempt, and relapsed into a prudence that 
bordered on timidity — only to break out again into all 
his old daring at the first suitable provocation. Thus 
when he was stiU almost a boy he had rashly excited the 
hostility of Sulla, but had then been content to remain quiet 
and at a distance until his death. After refusing to take part 
in the insurrection of Lepidus he had boldly come forward 
as the accuser of Dolabella and Antonius. He had afterwards 
retired once more from Rome, but no sooner was he at Rhodes 
than he recruited, at his own cost, a troop of volunteers for 
the Mithridatic war. After his fierce confhcts with the Con- 
servatives during the last two years, and after securing the 
office of Pontif ex Maximus in the teeth of Catulus and Servilius, 
he had now determined, in one of his periodical fits of self- 
suppression, that he had already allowed himself to be carried 
too far. He therefore refrained from staking his career upon 
Catiline's new venture and confined his efforts to his candida- 
ture for the Praetorship. 

Cicero would have been glad enough to behave likewise ; 
but his position as Consul allowed him no choice. Once more 
* Val. Max., iv. 8, 3. 

63 B.C. 

Position of 

The election 


he found himself in an exceedingly embarrassing situation. 
No doubt the coalition of aU the respectable classes was a great 
encouragement to stand firm against Catiline and his agitation. 
But he could not help knowing that Catiline enjoyed consider- 
able support among the mass of the people, whose admiration 
he was very reluctant to sacrifice. He made up his mind that 
if he opposed Catiline — as he must — ^he would do so rather by 
indirect means than by an open declaration of war. He there- 
fore began by purchasing the neutrality of his coUeague by 
surrendering to him his own province of Macedonia ; and then 
proceeded to draw up a bill increasing the severity of the 
penalties for corruption and modifying the methods of voting 
in a manner that would be disadvantageous to Catiline. A 
well-known lawyer, Servius Sulpicius, was entrusted with the 
drafting of this measure.* 

Such was the situation when, towards the beginning of July, 
amid general uncertainty, the electoral campaign was set on 
foot. The Conservatives were angry, the middle class doubtful 
and wavering, the popular party openly divided against itself. 
Besides Catiline there were three other candidates for the Consul- 
ship : Servius Sulpicius, who had drawn up the electoral biU, 
Lucius Licinius Murena, an ex-general of Lucullus, and 
Decimus Junius Silanus, the husband of Servilia. Crassus 
seems to have given his support to Murena, while Csesar entered 
the lists for Silanus, and Cato for Sulpicius. Disquieting 
rumours soon began to circulate. It was said that Catiline 
was summoning SuUa's veterans from Etruria for the elections : 
that, if they came, they would shrink from nothing, not even 
from the assassination of Cicero.f The truth was simply that 
Catihne had brought up bands of peasants from the neighbour- 
hood of Arezzo and Fiesole to swell the ranks of his supporters. 
It can easily be imagined what popular report, among Italians, 
and at a time of unusual excitement, contrived to build up out 
of this simple circumstance. Every one in Rome had his own 
version of the tale, and every one was anxious to out-do his 
neighbour in divulging it. Men exaggerated what they had been 
told, declared they had seen what they had only heard, and added 
a wealth of picturesque detail, tiU, after passing through some 
thousands of mouths, what had originally been hazarded as 
a flimsy conjecture reappeared as a substantial and detailed 
narrative. Rome was full of people who had heard, or had seen, 

* For this measure see Drlimann, G. R., v. 445 f. 
t Plut., Cic, 14. 


or knew for certain, and could not contain themselves from 63 b.c. 
telling aU they knew. In an unwonted epidemic of civic zeal 
many ran off to give full information to the magistrates, in the 
vague desire of emphasising their own share in the general 
commotion and of posing not as simple spectators but as im- 
portant actors in the drama of the hour.* 

In political circles these rumours were much discussed and Progress of the 
very varying estimates formed as to their meaning. The '=*'°p**°' 
Conservatives not only accepted the entire story, but, whether 
out of party spite, or because some of them really believed 
it, insisted on denouncing as accomplices all who ventured 
to question its credibihty. In the popular party, on the 
other hand, there was a general inclination, even among the 
Senators, to dismiss the whole tale as a wild fiction. Mean- 
while the elections were at hand and popular excitement was 
still steadily rising. Money had been lavishly distributed by 
Csesar, by Metellus, by Catiline, and by Murena, who had come 
back wealthy from the East. Bands of peasants and labourers 
brought up by Catiline were entering the city daily, whilst the 
Conservatives and the capitalists were straining every nerve 
against his candidature. Day by day the reports grew more 
alarming. It was said that soldiers were being enrolled in 
Etruria at Catiline's cost, that a general insurrection in imitation 
of Lepidus was being prepared, and that Catiline was bent on a 
wholesale massacre of the Senate.t 

The forecasts became more and more uncertain. The Cicero's detec- 
ominous rumours of civil war, the violence of the Conservative ^"^^' 
campaign and the acute financial depression had done much to 
frighten the middle-class proprietors. But Catiline was 
meeting with considerable success in his appeal to the desperate 
and discontented classes at Rome ; and he was caUing the whole 
proletariat population of Italy to the metropohs. The Con- 
servatives grew daily more insecure. They continued to 
repeat their story that the RepubHc was being threatened by 
a widespread conspiracy, in which not only Catiline but also 
Caesar and the whole of the Democratic party were concerned. 
Angry spirits amongst them began to cry out for stern measures. 
Cicero did his best to give his new-found allies proof of his 
anxiety for the maintenance of order. He had attached to 
Catiline as a spy a certain Quintus Curius, a young chatterer 
who brought all that Catiline either said or did. to his mistress 
Fulvia, a woman of good family but degraded character ; 
* Hut., Cic., 14. t I^' 15- 


Withdrawal of 
Servius Sul- 





Fulvia, of course, communicated her information at once to 
Cicero. The Consul's zeal was indeed exemplary. He 
listened to every report and followed up every clue. There 
was hardly an hour in the day when he was not giving audience 
to professional spies, or to informers not yet initiated into that 
odious brotherhood. He made it his business to credit all the 
rumours unfavourable to Catiline and there was scarcely a 
sitting of the Senate in which, reinforced by Cato, he did not 
attack Catiline for corruption and threaten him with a prosecu- 
tion.* But he steadily refused to move a single step further. 
He was not so blind as to be unaware that the matter was still 
in the region of suspicion and presumption, and that no such 
substantial evidence had as yet come into his hands as would 
justify him in the adoption of drastic measures.f 

An unforeseen incident now intervened still further to com- 
plicate an already perplexing situation. Servius, the lawyer 
who had drafted the electoral bill, had put himself forward for 
the Consulship, but, keeping strictly within the terms of his 
own bill, was refusing to expend any money on his candidature. 
Unfortunately, amongst a number of candidates who were 
lavish with their funds, nobody was disposed to pay serious 
attention to a miserly politician who behaved as if his precious 
law were really intended to be observed. Servius was so dis- 
gusted at this treatment that, in the very midst of the electoral 
campaign, he announced his intention of withdrawing his 
candidature and prosecuting Murena for bribery. He set to 
work on the collection of evidence for his charge with the 
assistance of Cato, who was indignant that the best of the 
Conservative candidates should be excluded from the contest. J 

A scandal of this sort on the very eve of the voting disheart- 
ened the Conservatives and was a great encouragement to 
CatiUne. In the confidence of impending victory he deUvered 
a great speech a few days before the election telling the voters 
that it was now futile for the poor to rely upon the rich for 
the improvement of their lot.§ Cicero, bent upon wrecking 
the candidature of Catiline, but without exposing himself to 
unpopularity and with the semblance of having popular 
interests at heart, was soon forced to take the field against 
his enemy with some more serious accusation than an absurd 
charge of corruption. It is possible that the peasants brought 

* Cic, Pro. Mar., xxv. 51. f Plut., Cic, 14. 

i Cic, Pro. Mur., xxiv. 48. 

§ Id., xxv. SO. See John, E. G. C. V., 744. 


up by Catiline to vote, many of whom were accompanied by 63 B.e. 
Sullan veterans, may have let fall some imprudent remarks, 
as they sat chattering in the taverns at Catiline's expense. It 
is likely enough that the old Sullan Manhus waxed sarcastic 
against a timid and vainglorious breed of talkers who harboured 
new-fangled constitutional scruples and relied on legislative 
action for the abolition of debt. The survivor of a generation 
of revolutions could tell them that the only way to free debtors 
was the short way with the sword. All this was skilfully exag- 
gerated by the Conservatives, and Cicero made use of it to 
disguise his hostility to Catiline under the all-embracing 
pretext of national defence. He pretended that it was not 
the man of the people whom he was fighting, but the felon 
from whom even Caasar and Crassus had held openly aloof, 
the enemy of the pubhc peace who had vowed to make the 
metropolis a scene of fire and carnage. But would the electors 
attach sufficient credence to these reports ? Would the tide 
of indignation rise high enough for CatiHne to be submerged ? 
It seemed anything but certain, yet it was already the eleventh 
hour. At aU costs it was imperative to provoke some sensation 
which would make the blood of the voter run cold vnth 

Yielding most probably to pressure from the Conservative Cicero plays 
chiefs, Cicero prepared a master-stroke which was to give the *"' '*'* '^"^' 
death-blow to Catiline's candidature. On the day before the 
date fixed for the elections he suddenly convened the Senate 
and, with a great parade of solemnity, demanded that the voting 
should be postponed for several days in order that an inquiry 
might be held next day on the dangers which threatened the 
life of the State. On the following day he gave an elaborate 
and emphatic recital of all the reports which were current 
as to Catiline's intentions and practically challenged Catiline 
to clear himself, in the hope of extracting some compromising 
confession. Catiline replied, with laconic insolence, that his 
intention was to become the head of the sole vigorous organ 
which stiU existed in the State — the people.* 

Cicero's manoeuvre had faUed, and it was now necessary to The scene at 
proceed with the elections, which took place in the last days *''* «i=<=t'°"s- 
of July or the first days of August .f On the morning of the 

* Cic, Pro. Mur., xxv. 51. See John, E. G. C. V., 750. 

•f It was long believed that the elections took place in October, but 
John has shown, I think once and for all (E. G. C. V., 750-755), that 
they took place almost at the normal time, at the end of July or the 
beginning of August. 


63 B.C. voting the result was still so uncertain that both sides made 
unprecedented exertions to bring up supporters. Cicero took 
his place as President of the Assembly surrounded by a body- 
guard of friends ; he was wearing a cuirass which gleamed as 
he opened his toga. All this was contrived to m^e an impres- 
sion upon the pubUc, and particularly upon timid and un- 
decided electors who might possibly be persuaded to vote for 
Catiline. The neighbouring temples were guarded by soldiers ; 
practically the whole of the equestrian order was mobilised; 
nobles and knights who had never appeared in the Campus 
Martius in their hves came with set and anxious faces to the 
voting booths, followed by a procession of friends and cHents. 
The voting was very close ; but once more money had over- 
borne numbers. In spite of the support of the proletariat, 
CatiHne was not elected. Caesar, however, secured the Praetor- 
ship, and Metellus the Tribuneship, but with Cato for a 

There was stiU one chance open to Catiline. If Murena 
were condemned in the suit which Sulpicius was bringing 
against him, the election would have to be fought over again. 
But Cicero took up Murena's case in an eloquent speech which 
has come down to us, and Murena was acquitted. 

After this third defeat Catiline, had no other alternative 
but to renounce all hopes of the Consulship and retire into 
private life. Cicero could congratulate himself on having 
emerged skilfully and honourably from the painful position in 
which Catiline's candidature had placed him, without sacrifice 
of his popularity either with the Conservatives or with the 
Democrats. But Catiline was too proud and violent a nature 
to acquiesce in defeat. Furious at his discomfiture and dread- 
ing reprisals from the Conservatives, he took a daring and deci- 
sive step. He entrusted Manlius, who was returning to 
Etruria, with a sum of money, charging him to recruit a small 
army among the distressed ; and he persuaded the most 
desperate of his partisans, relying on the support of the troops 
of Manlius, to attempt a coup d'etat by the assassination of 
Cicero and the forcible seizure of the Consulship.* August 
and September went by in the preparations for this attempt. 
Cicero bluffs ^^^ it was impossible to preserve secrecy during the whole 
SMate* '° ""* °^ ^^^ *^™-^' Ssfoi"e long the comparative tranquillity which 
had followed on the elections, was ruffled anew with rumours 
of revolution, and Cicero was again assailed with the familiar 
* See John, E. 6. C. V., 755 and 791. 

The Pro 

The real con- 
spiracy, t 


outcries and exhortations to take measures in self-defence. 63 b.c. 
What was he to do ? Once more he displayed the greatest 
assiduity in collecting information, but carefuUy avoided 
bringing matters to a climax or adopting any measures of 
severity v?hich might have seemed odious to the people. But 
the Conservatives were not to be placated. They cried out 
for the proclamation of a state of siege ; and as the rumours 
of the conspiracy became increasingly definite, they put greater 
and greater pressure upon the unfortunate Consul. Cicero, 
who had long been wavering, was at last moved to action, not 
only by the agitation among the upper classes, but also by the 
danger to which he was personally exposed. With every one 
round him calling out for drastic repression, he made up his 
mind to convene the Senate for October 21, and to give an 
account of the most serious reports which were then in circula- 
tion, declaring them to be substantially true and confirmed 
by information which he, in his capacity of Consul, had suc- 
ceeded in procuring. In this way the Senate would be induced 
to proclaim a state of siege, and the Conservatives would be 
satisfied. In the sitting of October 21, at which Catiline 
boldly put in an appearance, he declared that he " knew aU," 
that he had the most certain proof of the gravest charges that 
were made against Catiline — which was certainly not the case 
at that time.* Amongst other things he declared that on Prociamatioa 
October 27, Caius Manlius was to take up arms in Etruria at sfege.*^** °^ 
the head of an army, and that Catihne had fixed the 28th for 
a massacre of the Senate. Catihne was invited to clear himself, 
and gave an insolent reply. But the Senate, convinced by 
the exphcit declarations of Cicero (for no one thought it 
possible that he could make such serious statements without 
certain proof) no longer ventured to hesitate and a state of 
siege was proclaimed.f 

Great was the sensation at Rome when this news became Reception of 
known. Men always tend to judge the present by their gw^*'* °' 
memories of the past ; and there was a general expectation 
that, as at the time of the Gracchi and of Saturninus, the 

* When Cicero spoke he cannot possibly yet have been in possession 
of sure and definite information with regard to his most serious charges. 
This is proved, not onlybyPlut.,Cic., I4and Sail., Cat., 30, but byCicero 
himself (Cat., i. iii., 7), who manifests the naivest satisfaction in proving 
that what he had asserted about Manlius had turned out correct; 
" Comperi omnia " (I know all), seems to have been Cicero's phrase, 
as is clear from the malicious allusions of Clodius and Antony. See 
Cic, A., i. 14, 5 ; F. v. 5, 2. 

t Cic, Cat., i. iii., 7 ; i. ii., 4 ; cf. Tarentino, C. C, 86. 


63 B.C. Consul would be seen calling Senators and knights to arms and 
making a massacre of the leaders of the popular party. Cassar 
must have passed several hours of terrible suspense. But 
nothing of the sort took place. In spite of the impression 
caused by the speech of Cicero and the precautions adopted in 
consequence, the Senators returned quietly to their homes. 
Nothing more was done except to place garrisons in different 
parts pf the city. The times had changed ; and the impetuous 
passions of a more primitive era no longer held sway. As in 
all over-rich and self-indulgent communities, men had lost 
their daring and were less quick to action ; they acknowledged 
the new restraints of fear, of humanity and even of conscience. 
Some of the Senators still boldly affirmed that Cicero was 
lying.* Others declared that, the panic once over, the popular 
party would not leave the murder of its chiefs unavenged. 
Others had weakly consented to decree the state of siege, but 
were not really persuaded that the danger was sufficient. 
Others again were restrained by moral, legal or constitutional 
scruples. Cicero, who shpuld have given the order putting 
the decree into execution, was afraid of doing anything which 
might draw down upon himself the traditional hatred felt 
for a Nasica or an Opimius, or of posing in any way as a latter- 
day Sulla. Moreover the mere threat of coercion now produced 
upon a sensitive public an effect quite as great as coercion 
itself in a less civilised epoch. The Conservative party was 
therefore easily satisfied with the vague threat of martial law, 
and with a prosecution for assault brought against Catiline 
by the young Lucius ^milius Lepidus, another son of the 
revolutionary chief of 78, who was however, a member of the 
aristocratic party. 
CaWine tries Yet somehow the agitation in the city did not abate, and the 
stream of rumours flowed on unchecked. Persons in high 
position were constantly receiving anonymous letters purport- 
ing to contain extraordinary disclosures. Cicero must have 
felt himself particularly insecure. Conscious that part at least 
of the revelations he had made before the Senate was untrue, 
he must have feared that he might have to pay dearer than any 
of his partisans. He began to be slightly re-assured when one 
day Crassus brought him in a bundle of miscellaneous letters 
and denunciations which he had received.^ It was some 
satisfaction to know that the powerful banker had become 
so uneasy at the mere threat of a popular revolution that he 
* Dion, xxxvii. 31. -f Plut., Cic, 15. 


thoroughly believed in the reality of the danger. It was now 63 b.c. 
Catiline's turn to play at bluff. Somewhat discouraged by 
the universal hostility and suspicion with which he saw himself 
regarded, he adopted an ingenious stratagem in order to shelter 
himself and watch for an opportunity of recovering his ground. 
He paid a visit to Marcus Lepidus and asked him for permission 
to live in his house. This would show the public that he was 
so confident in his own innocence, that he was not afraid to 
live under the daily observance of an aristocrat in high position. 
When Lepidus refused to become his honorary gaoler, Catiline, 
with stiU greater hardihood, turned to Cicero for an asylum. 
When Cicero in his turn rejected him, he appealed to a certain 
Marcus Marcellus, who took him in.* 

Impartial members of the public were now completely at Perplexity 
sea. Whom were they to believe — Cicero or Catiline ? Cicero ° ^ p" "=• 
was certainly a man of distinguished position and recognised 
integrity. But it was truly singular that after solemnly pro- 
claiming the imminence of a revolution, he took no measures 
against the man whom he had declared to be its chief. Catiline 
was no doubt a man of great daring, but was it credible that, 
if he were maturing a revolution, he would have the effrontery 
to visit the Consul who accused him and ask him to be so good 
as to put him up in his house ? From time to time there was 
a lull in the great storm of rumours and then the suspicion 
would gain ground that Cicero had invented the whole story. 
Fortunately for Cicero, official news arrived within a few days 
that Manlius had shown himself openly in Etruria at the head 
of a small army ;t and a short time afterwards letters came in 
from Manlius himself to Quintus Marcius in which he declared 
that he and his supporters had taken up arms because they could 
no longer eiidure the debts with which they wefe burdened.J 

This news caused a tremendous sensation. So Catihne was Cicero the man 
the knave, and Cicero the model citizen ! If the public was 
excited, the Conservatives went almost wild. There was no 
time to be lost. This was a genuine CivU War, and 
" thorough " must be the word. The Senators were thrown 
completely off their balance. After hesitating for so long, 
they decided in a fit of nervous hurry to adopt the most 
extreme measures of precaution. If the whole of Italy had 
been in revolt they could not have done more. Rewards were 
promised to all who would give information about the plot. 
* Cic, in Cat., i. viii., 19. Dion, xxxvii. 32 (with a few minor 

t SaU., Cat., 30 ; Plut.. Cic, 15. t Sail., Cat., 33. 


63 B.C. 


Quintus Metellus, who was still awaiting his Cretan triumph, 
was sent into Apulia, Quintus Marcius into Etruria, Quintus 
Pompeius Rufus to Campania, Quintus Metellus Celer to the 
Marches.* Cicero, to his huge surprise and delight, became, 
within a day and a night, the object of universal admiration. 
He was thought to have brought to the defence of the Republic 
an energy and a clear-sightedness that were little short of 
Catiline's final Yet for all this he did not yet see his way to taking action 
InddepfAfrl. against Catiline. But Catiline played into has hands. Feeling 
the sympathies of his few remaining allies slipping from him 
and watching the violence of his enemies growing daily in 
intensity, he decided at last to throw off the mask. He seems 
to have entertained for a moment the plan of making an attack, 
on November i, upon the fortress of Palestrina.t When, 
owing to the vigilance of Cicero, this project had to be aban- 
doned, he escaped the watch of his host and on the night of 
November 6, t in the house of Laeca, assembled a meeting of 
those of his friends who were most deeply compromised in 
his schemes. He demonstrated to them the necessity for a 
universal insurrection throughout Italy to reinforce the move- 
ment of Manlius, and gave an outline of his plan, which was 
to begin with the assassination of Cicero,§ whom he regarded, 
like his opponents, as his most formidable enemy. Two 
knights who were present agreed to visit Cicero next morning 
and despatch him ; but Fulvia immediately informed the 
Consul, who convoked an extraordinary meeting of the Senate 
on the following day, November 7. Catiline, unabashed to 
the last, duly attended the meeting ; but at his entry into the 
room he was shunned by all his colleagues. Alone upon his 
seat he listened to the violent invective directed against him 
by Cicero, amidst the applause of the entire Senate. Catiline 
realised that he had nothing more to hope from the Senators. 
He rose, uttered a few ominous words, and went out. He left 
the same evening for Etruria, completely at liberty and with 
a numerous following. Cicero was so anxious to avoid respon- 
sibility for violence that he did not dare to hinder his departure. 
Rather he rejoiced at his escape, even though it might lead to 
a Civil War. If Catiline took up arms he would shake off his 

The First 

* Sail., Cat., 30. 

t Cic, Cat., i. iii„ 8. 

i See Tarentino, C. C, 89 f. 

§ John, E. G. C. v., 792. 

His reasoning about the date is good. 


last defenders and Cicero would once more have extricated 63 b.c. 
himself from aU complications amid universal applause. 

It is true that Cicero's triumph was not wholly uncontested. The plotters 
A few furious Conservatives boldly maintained that the Consul ne^e!"*"^ 
should have laid hands on Catiline and put him to death, while 
there was a small number who declared th»t Catiline had been 
maligned.* But these criticisms hardly touched Cicero, who 
had now suddenly eclipsed both Caesar and Crassus and become 
second only to Pompey, the most popular man in Rome. 
Unfortunately the struggle was not yet over. Those among 
Catiline's partisans who were most deeply concerned in his 
plot, Lentulus, Cethegus, Statilius, Ceparius, lost their nerve 
after Catiline, the only man of ability in the movement, had 
left them. They had now been abandoned by the great 
majority of their supporters, who had expected to secure the 
abolition of debt by easy and constitutional means, and were 
in no mood for war and bloodshed. Realising the danger 
of their position, they hurriedly pieced together a ridiculous 
conspiracy on the lines of the plan sketched out by their leader. 
Their idea was to raise a movement among the proletariat 
and the slaves, to set light to the city in several quarters at 
once, and so increase the general disorder at the moment when 
Catiline was approaching with his army. It was the foolish 
concoction of men half frightened out of their wits by their 
danger. The next step was feebler still. They approached 
certain ambassadors of the Allobroges who had come to Rome 
to lay some grievances before the Senate, and asked whether 
their people would consent to come to their assistance with 
pikemen and cavalry. 

This was their supreme mistake. Of course the AUobroges The plotters 
denounced them, and Cicero at last procured written proofs " ***' 
of their treachery. Acting for once with great rapidity, he 
had the chief conspirators arrested on the morning of December 
3, and brought them before the Senate. There he shov^ed them 
the letters given to the ambassadors for the chieftains of the 
AUobroges and confronted them with the ambassadors them- 
selves. In their confusion they were all surprised into a 

The report of their detection was at once dispersed and A night of 
distorted in every corner of the city. Rumour declared that ''*"" " °°"' 
there had been a vast conspiracy to burn down Rome and bring 

* The second Catilinariaji, delivered to the people on November 8, 
is a reply to these two opposing lines of attack. 


63 B.C. the Gauls into Italy. The impressionable metropolis was 
horror-struck at the suggestion. Not only the rich capitaHsts 
and the nobles, but all who possessed a Httle money, the moder- 
ate bourgeoisie, the tax-farmers, the merchants, the shop- 
keepers, all were indignant and panic-stricken, as at the immi- 
nence of a supreme ordeal. The public which Csesar and Crassus 
had tried in vain to awaken was at length touched to the quick. 
It had been touched in the year 70 : but how changed was the 
situation seven years later. It was now to the Conservatives 
that it appealed for help, and appealed so emphatically that 
even the chiefs of the popular party, even the proletariat itself, 
always faithful to its demagogues, was carried away in the 
swirl of the tide. From all sides a great and anxious crowd 
made its way to the Senate-house to hear the news ; and 
when, at the end of the cross-examination, Cicero made his 
appearance outside he received a great ovation. That night 
hardly any one slept at Rome. Men went to visit one another 
in their houses to ask counsel and comfort, and to nerve them- 
selves for the unknown dangers of the morrow. The Con- 
servatives, at once angry and exultant, were chafing to have 
done with all weakness towards the Democrats. They desired 
to strike not only at the accompHces of Catiline but at all the 
popular leaders and especially at Caesar. The capitalists and 
the middle classes, in the full flush of their patriotic fervour, 
prepared to appear in arms the following day to keep the revo- 
lutionaries in order. So loud was the outcry for making an 
example that certain citizens whose sons were compromised 
in the agitation, bethought them that according to ancient 
law they had the right to sit in judgment on their own children 
and had them put to death by their slaves. 
The enquiry in Next day the Senate met to continue the inquiry and hear 
e ena e. further witnesses. But it was almost impossible to maintain 
a judicial atmosphere. The chiefs of the Conservative party, 
Catulus in particular, began to put captious questions to the 
conspirators, to induce them to confess that Caesar had been 
privy to the plot. An informer, no doubt in the hope of help- 
ing the conspirators, declared that Crassus was involved, but the 
outcries of the Senators stopped him midway in his statement. 
At one moment report spread through the House that the 
populace was rising to deUver the prisoners. The confusion was 
indescribable. All had lost their presence of mind, except Cicero 
and Caesar. The extraordinary outburst of popular excite- 
ment had rudely awakened Cicero out of the delirious dream 


in which he had been living for the last month and recalled 63 b.c. 
him to something Uke his natural caution. Even in the thick 
of the excitement he descried the dangers which would be 
entailed by the adoption of too revolutionary measures.* 
But what was to be done ? The public was angry and was 
appealing to him as the pillar of the Republic. It was im- 
possible for him now to draw back ; or he at least had not the 
courage to do so. He feU back, in the diiEculty, on an old and 
tried expedient. He resolved to precipitate the crisis, and to 
make the following day decide the fate of the conspirators. 
As for Caesar, he too saw the dilemma in which he was placed. 
If he kept silent he would be charged with meanness or coward- 
ice. On the other hand, in the excited state of pubUc opinion, 
if he defended the accused, he would be almost encouraging 
his enemies to employ violence against him. 

On the 5th the Senate met again ; a huge and excited crowd The debate on 
blocked up the Forum, the temples and aU the streets in the pel^ty*"" 
neighbourhood of the Senate-house. Silanus, the first Senator 
to be asked his opinion, voted for death. All the others who 
were asked after him voted the same way, until it came to the 
turn of Caesar. Caesar, after some severe reflections upon the 
crime of the accused, pointed out that the death penalty would 
be both illegal and dangerous, and proposed in its place com- 
pulsory detention in a municipality and the confiscation of 
their property. His skilful and vigorous appeal shook the 
resolution of many of the Senators, and opinion seemed more 
or less evenly divided. Cicero spoke in ambiguous terms, but 
gave it to be understood that he inclined to Cxsar's view. The Fourth 
But Cato rose to speak definitely against Caesar's suggestion CatiUnanan. 
and he pleaded so vehemently, he was so emphatic in his demand 
that respect for law and order should be enforced by the pro- 
nouncement of a death penalty, that the Senate was converted 
to his view and capital punishment decreed. 

To Cicero was left the duty of carrying this order into execu- Death of the 
tion. His task would be to collect the conspirators from the MTofcltt- 
different houses where they were guarded and conduct them ''"^• 
to the Mamertine prison, where they would be strangled by 
the soldiers who acted as public executioners. But the extreme 
Conservatives proposed to escort the Consul on his funereal 
mission through the city and to the prison, and make an im- 
pressive demonstration of law and order before the noisy and 
riotous populace of the metropolis, which was itself, as they 
• Plut., Cic, 19-20. 

I R 

63 B.C. 


Italy and the 

End of the 




declared, morally implicated in the treason. Most of ^ the 
Senators joined in the escort ; there were a few exceptions, 
one of whom was Csesar, whom a group of knights had threat- 
ened with swords as he left the Senate-house. So the streets 
of Rome witnessed the passing of this strange and solemn 
hangman's procession, composed of the whole Senatorial 
aristocracy, the rich financiers and the well-to-do merchants, 
who had paused in their wrangling for the moment, with the 
chief executive officer of the Repubhc at its head. When the 
ceremony was over, Cicero was escorted back by the crowd 
to his house amidst enthusiastic demonstrations of confidence. 
Justice had had her victims. A few weeks later Catiline, who 
had only been able to arm a few thousand men, was easily 
defeated and killed at Pistoja in Etruria. 

Cicero fondly imagined that with these drastic measures 
he had quenched the flame of revolution which had been spread- 
ing through Italy. In the complacency of success he forgot 
his own doubts and hesitations. In reaUty, if a wild and danger- 
ous conflagration had been quickly and triumphantly stamped 
out, it was merely because Italy had never been inflammable. 
ItaUans had indeed been very ready to respond to CatiHne's 
original proposal for the abolition of debt, when it appeared 
for a moment both compatible with security and easy of attain- 
ment. But when what had claimed to be an ordinary political 
agitation became the nucleus of an oligarchical and revolu- 
tionary conspiracy, shaped rather by the inevitable pressure 
of events than in accordance with any clear and persistent 
policy, the country had condemned and even opposed the 
enterprise. The old revolutionary generation of the Social 
and Civil Wars, the contemporaries of Saturninus and Marius, 
of Sulla, Carbo and Sertorius, had disappeared from the scene, 
and among the men of the new era the same transformation 
was being effected, if on a somewhat lesser scale, as we have 
witnessed since 1870 in the revolutionary Europe of the nine- 
teenth century. The increase of wealth and comfort, of 
enjoyments and education, among the masses, the manifold 
refinements of urban Hfe, the general diffusion of a more 
lavish and commodious style of hving, had combined to make 
Itahans more timid and irresolute, more easily susceptible to 
panic, and more convinced of the desirability of law and order. 
The new bourgeoisie which had grown up in the various cities 
of Italy was a prosperous and pleasure-loving society, entirely 
unfamiHar with military life, owning property in land and 


houses and slaves, and chiefly pre-occupied with commerce 63 B.C. 
and industry, speculation and contracts, and the other manifold 
varieties of money making. Such people asked for nothing 
better than to be dispensed from paying their debts if a mere 
legislation could relieve them from the disagreeable obhgation. 
But they did not intend to pursue this pleasing illusion by 
staking their present possessions and future expectations upon 
the perilous hazard of a revolution. The landed proprietors, 
especially, dreaded the prospect of civil war, owing to the in- 
creasing cultivation of the vine and oHve, which only bear fruit 
after many years of growth and thus entail far more serious 
losses through war and devastation than crops which are sown, 
gathered and consumed from one year to the next. 



The siege of Jerusalem and the Sabbath — ^The capture of 
Jerusalem — Pompey in the Temple — ^The reaction in Italy- 
after the conspiracy of Catiline — PoUtical indifference of the 
upper classes — ^The Roman proletariat and the workmen's 
associations — The popular party becomes the party of the 
proletariat — Caesar in conflict with the reaction — ^The dis- 
appointment, aooxiety and money troubles of Cicero — 
Character of Pompey — Clodius and the sacrilege at the festival 
of Bona Dea — ^The return of Pompey — ^Trial of Clodius — 
Cicero, Clodia arid Terentia — Acquittal of Clodius — 
Caesar and his creditors — His departure for Spain — ^Lucretius 
aind his poem. 

Pompey before PoMPEY meanwhile was still detained before Jerusalem. With 
jerusaem. ^-^q ^glp of Hyrcanus the city itself had been easily captured ; 
but a part of the inhabitants had taken refuge in the Temple, 
which they defended with the stubborn desperation of their 
race. The Temple was built on a hiU dominating the city, 
and was surrounded by a fortress with walls of enormous 
height. Pompey had sent to Tyre for siege engines, which he 
erected against the rock ; but the defenders retorted so furiously 
with arrows and stones that the operations had been protracted 
into a long and difficult siege. 
The Jewish The Surrender came about at last in a curious manner. 

Once every seven days Pompey noticed that the besieged 
seemed to be stupefied into inactivity and allowed the Romans 
to work unmolested at their engines. He enquired of Hyrca- 
nus, who told him that every seventh day was the Sabbath, 
the day on which the law obliged the faithful to abstain from 
all labour, which, as interpreted by the devout, included even 
self-defence.* Pompey ordered his soldiers to work only on 
the Sabbath ; he was thus enabled, within three months, to 
* Dion, xxxvii., i6 ; Joseph., A. J., xiv. 4, 3 ; B. J., i. 7, 3. 



raise his towers up to the height of the walls and to move to 63 b.c. 
the attack. Faustus, son of Sulla, was the first over the ram- 
parts ; but there was horrible carnage before the capture was 
completed. Curious to inspect the sanctuary which had cost Pompey and 
him so much pains, Pompey made his way into the inmost treasure!" " 
shrine of the Temple, where none but the high priest was 
allowed to enter. But he looked in vain for a statue or a picture 
of the Godhead. He admired the strange seven-branched 
candlestick, which the Jews seemed specially to venerate, the 
table of gold, the huge store of incense for worship, and, hidden 
away in the cellars, the store of treasure which should have 
served to recompense the Roman legionary for his labours. 
But the God of the Bible then gave not the least striking proof 
of that power whose fear was soon to be spread so far throughout 
the world. Alone of all the gods of the Orient his gold was 
respected by a Roman adventurer. Pompey was so overcome 
by the weird fanaticism of his Jewish surroundings that he 
dared not lay hands on the treasure.* 

Pompey was still in Palestine when he was met by an embassy Pompey and 
from the King of Egypt, which had come to do him homage, °*™y- 
to make him a large present of money and to deliver him a 
strange invitation. He was to go with his legions into Egypt 
to assist the King to quell a revolt which had lately broken out.t 
Disquieted by the schemes of Crassus and Caesar and despairing 
of recognition as King by the Senate, Ptolemy Auletes was now 
endeavouring to gain a new ally in his defence. If Pompey 
accepted the invitation and re-established order in Egypt, he 
could hardly help pleading his cause in the Senate on his return 
and securing him the coveted title of Friend and Ally of the 
Roman people. The scheme was characteristically crafty ; 
but it was not without a dangerous side. It might help 
Ptolemy to win his country ; but it might also help him to 
lose it. What was he to do if the Roman defender, after 
quelling the disafiFection, refused to evacuate his country and 
annexed it to Rome ? With a LucuUus this would have been 
a very serious risk. But Ptolemy had to do with a general who 
was too cautious rather than too daring for his purpose. Pompey 
reflected that an Egyptian adventure would most probably 
expose him to a double attack ; it would offend the party that 
refused to recognise Ptolemy and was opposed altogether to 

* Joseph., A. J., xiv. 4, 4; Zon., v. 6; Cic, Pro. Flac, xxviii. 67. 
This is sufficient evidence to refute Dion, xxxvii. 16. 
t App., Mithr., 114. 

62 B.C. 

The reaction 
after Catiline. 

Break-up of 
tlie Moderate 


Egyptian intervention ; still more would it offend the noisy 
clique which was just now crying out for intervention, under the 
influence of Crassus and Caesar. He was therefore soon 
finished with the embassy ; he pocketed the money, but 
refused the invitation. He then declared Palestine and 
Coelesyria a Roman province, laid Jerusalem under a tribute, 
gave the high priesthood to Hyrcanus, and, taking Aristobulus 
away with him as a prisoner, returned to Pontus.* 

Meanwhile Italy was slowly recovering from the Catilinarian 
terror ; but it had left an indelible mark on her public life. 
In times of quick excitement and unstable balance, a trivial 
incident, if it chances to coincide with the close of a long and 
unconscious development, may be charged with far-reaching 
significance. The conspiracy of Catiline had not been formid- 
able in itself, but it had burst in with a storm of fresh air upon 
the sultry atmosphere of Roman politics ; it had touched every 
class and party and individual in the State ; it had loosened 
long standing agreements and snapped many ancient attach- 
ments ; and when it passed away as quickly as it had come 
it left the whole field of policy transformed. 

Its most immediate effect was the break-up of the post- 
Revolutionary Liberalism, with its temperate and patronising 
projects of reform, which had grown up around Pompey in the 
year 70. This party had drawn its strength from the middle 
class and a part of the aristocracy, from a union of landlords, 
merchants and financiers with the progressive nobiHty and men 
of means and leisure ; but it had been gradually enfeebled, 
partly by the growth of poUtical indifference, partly because 
it had falsified the expectations and wearied the short-lived 
patience of its promoters ; and partly because its members had 
been frightened or excited into the two extreme camps by 
the emergence of the question of debt. The respectable and 
educated classes, who had never taken a conspicuous part in 
politics, retired terror-stricken to the management of their 
private concerns, which mostly needed all the management 
that they could give them ; they conceived an incurable 
distrust for the politicians and programmes of the Democrats, 
without a recovery of confidence in their Conservative oppo- 
nents ; and with a comprehensive contempt for all political 
squabbling, left the two parties to fight it out as best they 
could. The results of this sudden paralysis of public opinion 

* Masi., V. S. A., 25. 


can hardly be exaggerated. It transformed the Conservative 62 b.c. 
party into a knot of furious reactionaries. All the wildest and 
most fanatical spirits in its ranks, encouraged by their easy 
success against Catiline, and confident that the sudden divorce 
between democracy and respectability would prove to be last- 
ing, domineered over the moderate section in the Senate and 
entered, under the leadership of Catulus and Cato, into a life 
and death struggle against the popiilar party. Their plan of 
campaign was to use the prosecutions of the accomplices of 
Catiline as an opportunity for a far reaching and systematic 
persecution of their opponents. 

The moment seemed propitious. Pompey was still at a Cssar at bay. 
distance ; MeteHus Nepos, his Roman representative, could 
safely be ignored. Crassus had been frightened by the conspiracy 
out of his popular sympathies. Csesar alone remained : and 
Caesar was defeated, discredited and detested. Upon his 
devoted head the storm that had only just been lulled threatened 
to descend once more in aU its fury. We may wonder what 
would have become of him at this moment had he been of a 
more sensitive and delicate temperament, or disposed to allow 
aristocratic prejudice or ethical scruples to dictate his action. 
But it was his conduct at this difficult crisis which first showed 
how marvellously Caesar was adapted for the conflicts of his 
turbulent age. Caesar was unalterably, almost naively, in- 
different to all moral distinctions. This indifference was not 
due to depravity of life ; it was inborn in his nature, and 
unconsciously strengthened by his habits and company, by the 
bankrupts and swindlers and adventuresses vnth whom he 
consorted ; conjoined with an unusual excitability of temper, 
it gave him an extraordinary versatility and plasticity of mind 
and adapted him to act well or iU, supremely well or supremely 
iU, as the need might be. 

But he had never yet been faced with such a situation as this. Caesar and the 
The knights and aU the wealthy had deserted the party and ^'° ®'^"**- 
were not to be wooed back ; Democracy was more than un- 
popular : it had become disreputable. Caesar's remedy was 
to make it more disreputable still — to transform it avowedly 
into what it had begun to be during the last four or five years, 
a party of social discontent.* Concealed in the holes and 

* Hut., Cat., U. 26 ; Plut., Caes., 8. The fact is further proved by 
the great number of prosecutions for usurpation of citizenship -which 
the Conservatives brought forward ^in this year. See Lange, R. A., 
iij. 258, also Cic, A., i. 16, 11. 


62 B.C. corners of Rome, in the enormous lodging-houses of the specu- 
lative builders of the day, there seethed an innumerable popu- 
lation of freedmen, artisans, pedlars, small shopkeepers, adven- 
turers, beggars and malefactors, swept in from all parts of Italy 
and the Empire. These men made a living by any occupation, 
licit or illicit, which the slaves left open to them. They were 
employed on the public works ; they plied their trades as 
masons, stone-cutters and waggoners, potters and weavers, 
cooks, florists and flute-players ; they put themselves at the 
service of cabals and individual politicians as cut-throats or 
spies or go-betweens ; they crept on to the register and sold 
their votes ; they stole, they swindled, and they took their 
part, and more than their part, in the political banquets. 
Many of them had organised themselves into " Colleges " or 
associations of working men, which the Senate was now attempt- 
ing to dissolve as illegal. * Indolent, thriftless, discontented 
and incapable, perpetually clamouring for employment, yet 
perpetually cast adrift, this underground population had 
responded readily to the battle-cry of Catiline and had rallied 
enthusiastically to promote his campaign. It was stiU prepared, 
if it found a leader, to do yeoman service in the cause of anarchy. 
These were the men who were elected by the Pontifex Maximus, 
with his henchman the great-nephew of MeteUus Macedonicus 
to repulse the attacks of the fanatical Conservatives, the chosen 
allies with whom they were now prepared to attack them, no 
longer on the dangerous battle-ground of economic reform, but 
in the easier and more accessible arena of ordinary politics. 
The question of No sooner had Caesar entered upon his Prsetorship than he 
exeSiHoM*"*" opened the attack upon Catulus in person. The Conservative 
leader was accused of having misadministered the funds for 
repairing the Capitol from the damage inflicted in the Civil 
War, and it was proposed to transfer this duty to Pompey.f 
The proposal was defeated by the vigorous opposition of the 

* See Waltzing, C. P. R., i. 87-9, for the list of the workmen's 
associations in Rome and Italy of which traces have been discovered 
in this period. The laws against them which aJe referred to in the 
text are those mentioned by Asconius, in Com., p. 67 (ed. KiessUng 
and Schoell), and in Pis., p. 6-7. It is doubtful whether their dis- 
solution took place in 64, since a passage of Cicero (de Pet. Cons., 
V. I and viii. 39), proves that numerous " collegia " and " sodalitates " 
existed in that year ; moreover. Waltzing, i., p. 98, has shown, as 
against Mommsen, that these laws were directed against associations 
of all kinds. Further, the text of Asconius in Pis., p. 6-7 has been 
tampered with. In any case, attempts were made by the Conserva- 
tives at this time to deprive workmen of the right of combination. 

•f Dion, xxxvii. 44 ; Suet., Caes., 15. 


Conservatives. But soon afterwards Metellus, with the assist- 62 b.c. 
ance of Caesar came forward with a still more daring demand — 
nothing less than that Pompey should be recalled to Italy 
with his army in order to prevent any further illegal executions 
of citizens. This frankly raised the question whether the 
condemnations pronounced by the Senate against the accom- 
plices of Catiline were legal, and was an open threat to those 
who were using the memories of the Terror to reap an after- 
math of vindictive denunciation. The Conservatives were 
furious at what they considered a flagrant breach of patriotism. 
Not content with accusing men who had risked their lives 
in the cause of order, the party of revolution now wished 
officially to entrust Pompey with the duty of making the coup 
d'hat ! On the morning of the day when the biU was to be 
discussed at the Assembly, Cato, who was still Tribune, went 
unattended to oppose his veto : but Caesar and Metellus had 
him chased away with stones by bands of ruffians. Their 
example was contagious. The Conservatives ran off in their 
turn to fetch help and appeared in time to drive off Caesar 
and Metellus before the bill was passed. 

The question was thus settled for the moment ; but the Attemijted 
scandal had been too great for things to remain as they were, c^sar '^d° 
It was only intensified when MeteUus left Rome, with threats Metellus. 
of vengeance, to return to Pompey's camp. In spite of the 
awakening protests of the moderates, the Senate was unable 
to resist the pressure of the reactionaries and took the grave 
step of deposing Metellus and Caesar from their offices. But 
Caesar was no stranger to the arts of injured innocence. At 
the cry of injustice the noisy rabble of his supporters rose in 
wrath against the decision, and the Senate, still more frightened 
of disorder than it was of the reactionaries, was obliged to re- 
instate him in his office.* The Conservative leaders were mad 
with rage. They attempted to turn the tables by imphcating 
him in the prosecutions against the accomplices of CatUine ; 
but this only increased the dangerous ferment among the 
populace.t Finally, as a sop to the many-headed Cerberus, 
the uncompromising Cato had perforce to increase the distri- 
butions of corn to the people to a sum of about seven millions, [aS' ] 

* Dion, xxxvii. 43 ; Plut., Cic, 23 ; Suet., Caes., 16-17 ; Plut., 
Cat., U. 26-29. There are divergences in these accounts between 
which it is difficult to decide. According to Suetonius, Cassar and 
Metellus were deposed ; according to Plutarch; Metellus was not 
deposed, because Cato intervened in his favour. 

I Plut., Caes., 8, 

6Z B.C. 

Character of 



with a proportionate increase in the number of benefi- 

If within the last twelve months the whole political situation 
had been entirely transformed, the attitude of individuals 
needed corresponding readjustment. For two persons in 
particular, for Pompey and for Cicero, the change was of vital 
consequence. It was known that Pompey was preparing to 
return home, and every one was asking what part he would play 
under the altered rules of the game. The Conservatives were 
very uneasy. They declared that he would use his army to 
make himself Dictator and abolish the Republic. And yet, 
but for the difficulty which even the ablest men seem to expe- 
rience in analysing character amid the heats of a political 
conflict, nobody could possibly have imagined Pompey as- 
suming the rdle of a second SuUa. He himself was indeed at 
that very moment earnestly considering how he could become 
reconciled to the Conservatives. During his long absence in 
the East Pompey had at last found his true bearings. He was 
indeed a typical example'of the hereditary aristocrat as he is some- 
times developed under the influence of an advancing civilisation. 
A graceful and not unsuccessful dilettante in art, literature and 
science, in politics and war, the very variety and facility of his 
accomplishments unfitted him for any intense and concentrated 
endeavour. Skilful and even crafty within his own range, he was 
yet easily deceived by an active intriguer or unbalanced by the 
shock of an unexpected rebuff. Though he served ambition and 
was gratified by power, like the rest of his grasping age, neither 
violence, nor greed, nor any active self-seeking lay truly at the 
bottom of his nature ; but beneath that kindly and amiable, yet 
dignified demeanour, as so often in an aristocratic nature, lay 
cold and unstirred depths of complacency and selfishness. 

Such a man was by nature allied rather to a moderate Con- 
servatism than to the doctrines of revolution. In his youth 
he had rushed to arms in the cause of SuUa. But his early 
successes had stirred ambitions which linked his fortunes with 
the popular party. These ambitions he had been enabled 
to gratify ; the East had given him, what it gives to few, the 
whole of his heart's desire. -j- He returned to Rome at once 

* Plut., Cat., U. 26, puts this law before the proposal of MeteUus, 
which is improbable. It can only have been after the scandal provoked 
by his proposal that Cato was induced himself to propose a law so 
much at variance with his ideas. See Lange, R. A., lii. 258. 

t For this change in Pompey's character, see the excellent chapter 
in Dion, xxxvii. 23, which I believe he drew from Livy. 


the most renowned, the most powerful and one of the wealthiest 62 b.c. 
of her citizens. He had added new provinces to the Empire, 
he held kings in the East at his mercy, and he had amassed and 
safely invested as much money as even a Roman coidd need. 
The claims of ambition once finally quieted, his aristocratic 
and Conservative temperament reasserted its sway. He 
began to feel a repugnance against the vulgar and turbulent 
propaganda of his party, and his disgust was increased when he 
learnt the intrigues of Crassus, the rumoured adultery of his 
wife Mucia, and the notorious position of Caesar as the chief 
of all the rabble of Rome. Whilst the political wiseacres were 
shaking their heads over his supposed ambitions, he was simply 
concerned how to secure a successful triumph vrith the least 
possible friction and annoyance. In his letters to the Senate 
he never mentioned the Catilinarian imbroglio.* He had 
thoughts of divorcing Mucia and contracting some new 
marriage which would pave the way for his reconcihation with 
the Conservatives ;t and he proposed, on his way home, to 
make a. sort of royal tour through the Greek world, partly in 
order to gain time, but partly also to make a final and magnifi- 
cent display of his greatness and dignity. He crossed first to 
Mitylene in Lesbos, which he made a free city to please his 
favourite Theophanes, who was a native of the place ; he 
admired its fine theatre and conceived the project of building 
one similar, but on a larger scale, at Rome.J From Lesbos 
he went to Rhodes, where he interviewed Posidonius, the 
philosophic historian so much in vogue among wealthy Romans, 
and distributed money to the professors.§ Then he moved 
on to Ephesus, where his army and fleet were collected. 

If the Conservatives might have found an aUy where they sus- Change in the 
pected the deadliest enmity, they had but a lukewarm supporter habtts of*^ " 
in Cicero, whom they might justiy by now count as one of '^"=«™- 
their ovwi leaders. The conspiracy of Catiline marks a turning 
point in the hfe and character of the great writer. Hitherto 
he had posed as a thrifty and retiring citizen, untouched by 
the temptations of power and luxury, whose ambitions were 
reserved for the RepubHc of letters and who had rather accepted 
than courted high oflice in the State. But his encounter with 
Catiline had turned his head. The emphatic laudation of the 
knights and the nobility, ordinarily so reserved towards any 
middle-class achievement, the unprecedented privileges decreed 

* Cic., R, V. 7. t Plit., Cat., U., 30. 

X Plut., Pomp., 42 ; Veil., ii. 18, 42. § Hut., Pomp., 42, 


62 B.C. in his honour, including the sounding title of " Father of his 
Country," all the thousand exaggerations which fear or foUy 
wiU always circulate on the morrow of even the most trivial 
disturbance, had combined to take his vain and sensitive nature 
by storm. He ended by being convinced that he had reaUy 
saved the Republic from a horrible cataclysm, that he was in 
fact a capable and far-seeing statesman. Ideas of greatness 
began to float before his mind. He was no longer contented 
either with the unsubstantial glories of literature or with the 
modest life which he had hitherto been leading. Just in this 
very year, during the growing intensity of the party struggle, 
he committed one of the greatest indiscretions of his career 
by buying from Crassus, at the huge sum of 3 J million sesterces, 
an enormous house on the Palatine.* Anxious to possess a 
residence more worthy of his new position than the modest 
and old-fashioned home of his fathers, and unable to provide 
the necessary means, he was forced to depart from his strict 
observance of the Cincian law, and to ask the clients whom he 
defended to advance him large sums, of course without interest — 
to borrow money in fact from a wide circle of friends. One 
of his clients alone, Publius SuUa, lent him 2 million sesterces.f 
It is true that he reckoned on his colleague Antonius, then in 
Macedonia, to pay his debts ; for when he had surrendered 
him his province, it had been agreed between them that 
Antonius should give him a part of the booty he would make 
in his wars. J For all that he was contracting enormous debts 
with very uncertain prospects of payment, and committing 
the same mistake as Caesar in fettering his personal liberty with 
a chain which he would not easily succeed in snapping. 
Cicero's indo- Moreover, if his ambitions were growing, his vigour and 
industry were far from keeping pace. While he was busily 
contracting debts in order to live up to his new position, he 
was unconsciously changing his personal habits. He had of 
late become strangely indolent, leaving it to others to defend 
his actions and not daring to range himself resolutely on the 
Conservative side. In their attacks against the Conserva- 
tives the Democrats stiU showed a certain respect for his 
name, and perhaps he hoped by a judicious withdrawal to 
preserve, if not his old popularity, at any rate a certain prestige . 

* Cic, F., V. 6. 2 ; Veil., ii. 14. 

t Aul. GeU., N. H., xu. 12. 

I This intrigue can be detected from Cicero's letters to Atticus, 
i. 12, 13 and 14, where Teucris is certainly a nickname for Antoniu?, 
and from ad Fam., v. 5 and 6. See Driimann, G. R., i'. 394, v. 428 f. 



among the popular ranks. Whilst parties were coming to 62 b.c. 
blows in the Forum, he therefore remained in the back- 
ground and confined himself to constant and vainglorious 
repetitions of the achievements of his Consulship, even 
making arrangements, it appears, to write a history of the 
year in Greek. 

Pompey was now, towards the middle of 62, just about to Pompey's 
leave for home. Before embarking, he made the customary ^'^'^^ money, 
distribution of prize money to his companions in arms. Each 
private soldier received 6,000 sesterces (about £60) and 
Centurions and Tribunes large sums up to a total which 
would amount to about ^^3,000,000. His generals alone 
had 100,000,000 sesterces, so that if we suppose there were 
twenty-five of them, each would have a sum equivalent 
to about ^^40,000, a substantial recompense for cam- 
paigns involving a minimum of danger, and which had not 
lasted in all more than a short four years.* Finally, he 
embarked his army and set sail for Greece. He went first of 
all to Athens, where he stayed some time hearing philosophical 
lectures, and offered 50 talents to restore the finest of the 
ancient buUdings.t From Athens he sent his vnie Mucia a 
letter announcing her impending divorce. J Then he embarked 
for Italy, and landed towards the end of the year at Brindisi, 
while the Conservatives were trembling in expectation of a 
democratic SuUa and Crassus was making hasty arrangements 
to leave Rome with his family .§ 

Meanwhile at Rome, the hush of suspense which preceded ciodius the de- 
Pompey's arrival had been rudely interrupted in the first days ^^'^"^ 
of December by an exciting scandal. || Pompeia, the wife of 
Csesar, had an intrigue with Ciodius, the man who had suborned 
the legions of LucuUus. Ciodius was one of those degene- 
rates who are sometimes found in noble famihes in the last 
stages of their decadence. With weak and almost girlish 
features^ and the movements and tastes of a woman (to go 
about in female costume was one of his greatest delights)** he 
was so utterly depraved as to find enjoyment in none but the 
most bestial pleasures ; open and shameless in the ostentation 

* App., Mith., 116; Plin., N. H., xxxvii. 2, i6. It seems clear 
from Appian that Pliny^s lOO million sesterces were not included in 
the 16,000 talents (384 million sesterces) distributed among the soldiers. 

■f Pint., Pomp., 42. i Id., and Cic, A., i. 12, 3. 

§ Pint., Pomp., 43. II Lange, K. A., iii. 261. 

IT Pint., Caes., 10 ; Cic, 28 ; but cf. Drumann, G. R., ii. n. 82. 

** Cic., De Har., rasp, xxi., 44. 


62 B.C. of his vices, savage and passionate in his personal dislikes, he 
was rather crafty in the petty warfare of spite than skilful in 
working out any larger project, and too mad and unbalanced 
to act coherenliy towards any reasoned end beyond the daily 
and hourly satisfaction of his disgusting passions.* Rumour 
had it at Rome that he had seduced, one after the other, all 
three of his sisters, •}• and now, since it fell to Pompeia, as Praetor's 
wife, to preside over the ceremony of the Bona Dea, at which 
only women could be present, he conceived the fantastic idea 
of making an assignation with her during the ceremony . 
Pompeydis- Unfortunately he was found out. But a society so frankly 
army^'"^ Sceptical and incredulous as that of Rome at this time might 
have been expected to pass off the scandal with a laugh, more 
especially as serious subjects were not lacking to claim the 
attention of the public. It is true that the alarm caused by 
Pompey's arrival was rapidly passing off. On his disembarka- 
tion at Brindisi, to the great delight and astonishment of the 
Conservatives, he had disbanded his army, and was making 
his way towards Rome with a small suite to demand a triumph. 
Bad news from But disquieting news was coming in from Gaul. The Allo- 
broges had risen in revolt and had devastated part of the 
Narbonese province,! which the Senate, always weak and 
hesitating in its foreign policy, had for some time past left 
to itself. Moreover the Helvetu, who had taken part in the 
invasion of the Cimbri and Teutones and who had since 
settled down round the Lake of Geneva, were being pressed 
on the north-east by the Suevi and were anxious to cross the 
Roman province on their way to emigrate to the western 
seaboard. § 
The special But the Conservative party had no ears for all this. It 

ciodius!'"'^ could think of nothing but Clodius, whose adventure was 
regarded in the most tragic light. So horrible a sacrilege 
must not be left unpunished. Clearly Catiline's fate had 
proved an unsufficient warning. Here was the younger genera- 
tion threatening to become even more seditious and dis- 
solute than that which had preceded it. It was time to make 
a summary and deterrent example. The Senate consulted 
the College of Pontiffs to know if the act of Clodius constituted 
a sacrilege. When the College replied in tlie affirmative, || 

* Cf. Lombroso, Uomo Delinquente {The Criminal), vol. ii. chaps. I 
and 2, and the whole psychology of the moraily insane, 
t Pint., Cic, 29. X Dion, xxxvii. 47, 48. 

§ Cses., B. G., i. 2. || Cic, A., i. 13, 3. 


it ordered the Consuls for the year 61, Marcus Pupius Piso 61 b.c. 
and Marcus Valerius Messala, to propose a law fixing the 
procedure to be adopted and estabhshing a special tribunal 
to judge the case.* To propose an extraordinary tribunal 
at a moment when the popular party was protesting daily 
against the illegal condemnation of the accomplices of Catiline 
was a deliberate provocation ; and the Democrats immediately 
took Clodius under their protection. A violent agitation 
broke out against the Bill, largely fomented by a Tribune of 
obscure antecedents, named Quintus Fufius Calenus, who was 
anxious to obtain notoriety. The Conservatives remained 
firm in their demand for the condemnation of the sacrilege. 
Thus by the beginning of 61 the foolish adventure of Clodius 
had caused the outbreak of a regular political tempest, from 
which the most eminent men found it impossible to find 

Csesar, who was just about to go as pro-Praetor to Spain, was Attitude of 
forced to delay his departure, and took prompt advantage of Po^pey- 
the scandal to divorce Pompeia, whose aristocratic connections 
were rather embarrassing than useful now that he was in open 
war with the aristocratic party. Pompey was of course appealed 
to by both parties ; after resisting as long as he could, he was 
finally forced into a declaration which in its ambiguity seemed 
more favourable to the Conservatives than to the Democrats. 

Even Cicero could not keep aloof. He was indeed carried Cicero, ciodia 
far further than he wished by a curious intrigue undertaken *" ^"'' '^' 
by Clodius. Anxious to make sure of his support, Clodius 
attempted to entangle him through the second of his sisters, 
the wife of Quintus Metellus Celer,t a woman of the most 
evil reputation, who was said to have bought a garden on the 
banks of the Tiber at the place where the young men bathed, 
and to keep open house for aU the worst of the Roman nobiUty. 
But Cicero's wife, the suspicious and shrewish Terentia, was 
on the look-out ; and the " Father of his Country " only 
recovered his customary portion of household peace by pledging 
himself to work for the passing of the judicial bill directed 
against Clodius.J Clodius was furious at his failure ; he broke 
out in violent invectives against Cicero for his conduct with 
regard to Catiline, and, with a maUcious allusion to the declara- 
tions made by Cicero in the Senate, fixed upon him the nick- 
name of the " all-knowing " Consul.§ 

* Cic., A. xiv. 2. t ^i^-' i- 14. 2. 

X Plut., Cic, 29. § Cic., A., i. 14, 5. 

6l B.C. 

Evidence of 
Cicero and 
acquittal of 

Csesar and his 


These attacks came at an awkward moment ; for Cicero 
had just now other reasons for anxiety and chagrin. Antonius 
was sending him no money ; worse still, since he had failed 
in an expedition against the Dardani, public opinion at Rome 
was clamouring for his recall, and Cicero was forced to inter- 
vene to keep him in command.* But rumours had got abroad 
of Cicero's agreement with his colleague, and the popular 
party began to make him their target. It was said that the 
knights had paid him to have the accomplices of CatUine 
condemned. He was already smarting under these stings when 
the attacks of Clodius came to increase his discomfort, and 
worried him at last, in a longing for retaliation, to plunge 
imprudently into the midst of the fray. The bill was thus 
approved with modifications favourable to Clodius, proposed 
by Calenus. The next step was the trial itself. Crassus, now 
more easy in his mind, was ready to re-enter the world of 
intrigue and consented, at the instigation of- Caesar, to disburse 
enough money to corrupt the judges ; while the Conservatives 
on their side were preparing the most damning evidence against 
Clodius. When the trial took place Clodius impudently denied 
that he had been present at the festival of the Bona Dea at all. 
The man who had been surprised there must have been some 
one else, for he had not even been at Rome that day. Ceesar 
was examined as a witness and declared that he knew nothing.t 
LucuUus came forward to testify to the incestuous union of 
Clodia with her brother.! But it was Cicero who gave the 
crowning evidence by declaring that Clodius had been at Rome 
on that very day and had come to see him three hours before 
the sacrilege. § Every one believed his condemnation to be 
inevitable, but the gold of Crassus was more decisive than any 
evidence, and to the jubilation of the Democrats and the confu- 
sion of the Conservatives, Clodius was actually acquitted. 

The Conservatives now sought to turn the tables upon Caesar, 
who was making his arrangements to leave for Spain. Several 
of his creditors, suborned by his political enemies, produced 
a bundle of old unpaid syngra-phts, or biUs of exchange, and 
threatened in default of payment to confiscate the pile of 
baggage which Caesar, Uke most governors, was taking out 
with him to his province. These threats must certainly have 
been due to some political intrigue, for his creditors would 

* Cic, A., i. 12, 13, 14 ; F. v. 5 and 6. f Plut., Caes., 10. 

X Cic, Pro Mil., xxvii. 73. See Drumann, G. R., ii. 382 n. 67. 
§ Val. Max., viii. 5, 5 ; Cic, A., i. 16, 4. 


scarcely have been so foolish as to keep Caesar at Rome at the 61 b.c. 
very moment when he was going into the province to enrich 
himself. Caesar again addressed himself to Crassus, who 
offered a guarantee which the creditors did not venture to 
dispute. Thus released from his obHgations Caesar set out for 

He left behind him at Rome Pompey, busy in the prepara- Disuiusion- 
tions for his triumph, LucuUus, now living quietly in retire- "™ ° "^*™' 
ment, and Cicero, since his defeat in the trial of Clodius 
a prey to gathering anxieties. Stimulated by Clodius the 
Democrats were once more taking up the whole Catilinarian 
affair, throwing doubts upon Cicero's good faith and declaring 
that on the famous December 5, Roman citizens had not so 
much been judged as assassinated. If only he had been com- 
pensated for this ingratitude by some sufficient admiration 
from the other side, he would not have been so grieved. But 
many of the people who had admired and applauded him 
during the crisis had now fallen under the spell of the agitators, 
and were beginning to ask if Cicero had not exaggerated the 
danger. He was at a loss where to turn. Too honest and, 
to speak truth, too vain to turn his back upon his own achieve- 
ments in order to satisfy his critics, he yet lacked both the 
courage and the energy necessary to attach himself whole- 
heartedly to the extreme Conservatives. 

For the moment, however, all was quiet ; nor was the quiet The ^duan 
even disturbed by an embassy which reached Rome from *"**' 
Gaul just about this time. The peoples of Gaul had now for 
some years been convulsed by an endless series of internal 
dissensions and disastrous wars. During the course of one 
of these wars, a short time before, one of the most powerful 
of the Gallic tribes, the Sequani, had called to their aid from 
beyond the Rhine a German chieftain, Ariovistus, who with his 
Suevian tribesmen had helped to conquer the .^dui. The 
.(Edui, who had been in alliance with Rome since the conquest 
of the Narbonese Province, sent the Druid Divitiacus to 
Rome to appeal for assistance. Cicero now entertained him 
in his house ;■{■ but despite the hospitaUty of the ex-Consul 
Divitiacus did not succeed in arousing Rome out of the com- 
placent indifference with which she had treated the affairs 
of Gaul for the last sixty years. The Senate escaped from the 
difficulty by decreeing that the Governor of the Province, 

* Plut., Caes., II ; App., B. C, ii. 8. 
t Cic., De Div., i. xli, 90. 

6l B.C. 


His life and 

His poem. 


who as a matter of fact had very small forces at his disposal, 
was to protect the JEdui against any attempt of their enemies.* 
Thus the Gallic question soon passed once more out of the 
public mind. 

There was now a slight lull in the storm of politics. Generals 
and statesmen may make way for a moment for a greater repre- 
sentative of the spirit of their age — no soldier, nor demagogue 
in the pubhc eye, but an obscure man of letters, a friend of 
Cicero, who, unknown and unregarded in a sequestered corner 
of Rome, was labouring at the most darmg and characteristic 
monument of her imperial hterature. fflis name was Titus 
Lucretius Carus. He was a man most probably of independent 
means who Uved in a small house in the metropoUs on the 
income derived from his landed property. A victim of a 
terrible malady, described by alienists as alternating or circular 
delirium, which consists in a succession of violent fits of exalta- 
tion foUowed by periods of sullen and morose depression,t 
he had withdrawn from politics to devote himself wholly to 
study. He hved in the midst of his books, with a few friends 
among the upper classes, but without ambition or desire for 
wealth. All his pleasure lay in the contemplation of the 
infinite world which Epicurus had opened to his gaze, a world 
flooded through and through with a rain of atoms, alight with 
countless stars and peopled with countless worlds, maintaining 
its equipoise by a gigantic effort of vitality in which Rome and 
her Empire were but one tiny eddy, lost in the immense and 
mpving ocean of eternity. ) 

(But Lucretius was no idle dilettante who had fled from the 
violence and passions of mankind to distract an overladen brain 
with the selfish pastimes of the intellect. He was an ardent 
worker, an untiring craftsman of the imagination, who in the 
solitude of his study showed an ambition as insatiable as 
LucuUus himself in the thickest of the fight. Amid the painful 
and perpetual struggle with his disease he was conceiving a 
great poem vipon Nature, bidding his contemporaries depose 
from their heavenly thrones the false gods whom they had 
too long worshipped, and attempting single-handed to win, 
not a new province with an army of soldiers, but rather, with 

* Cses., B. G., i. 35. 

•f S. Hieron, ad Ann., 65o U.C. Stampini, II smcidio di Lucrezio, 
in R. S. A. i, part 4, p. 45, has shown the credibility of the details 
given by St. Jerome, which he derived from Suetonius. See also 
Giri, 11 suicidio di Lucrezio, Palermo, 1895. 


a Titanic aspiration ofthe^intellectjthe lordship and comprehen- 61 b.c. 
sion of the natural world. ) 

But in the travail of self-expression the master of thought His langnagre 
became a master of language ; for he was the first to mould "" P^Uo^phy- 
Latin to the uses of poetry. At the time when Lucretius 
began to write, the speech of the peasants of Latium was still 
primitive and confused, ill-fitted for abstract thinking, and its 
versification rude and imperfect ; but, as Lucullus, with but 
30,000 ignorant ItaHans, had set forth to trample down the 
Empires of the East, so Lucretius dared to do violence to those 
massive accents which men had thought destined for uses no 
more noble or enduring than the enactments of legislators, the 
reckonings of merchants, and the disputes of politicians. 
Lucretius took the language of his fathers, softened and purified 
it in the fire of his enthusiasm, hammered it long and patiently 
on the anvil of his thought, till it had lost aU the dullness and 
opacity of its origin ; he took the rough metres of the older 
poets, shaped and re-shaped them with vigorous workmanship 
tiU they rang clear and true in the stirring rhythm of his 
sonorous hexameter lines ; and this instrument of language 
thus laboriously formed he applied to express, no metrical and 
meaningless analysis of an abstract doctrine, but his own deep- 
felt and romantic philosophy of the universe. He gave vivid 
utterance to the intensest exaltation, the most voluptuous aban- 
donment, that the mind of man has ever felt before the ever- 
lasting and everchanging spectacle of the life of the Universe. 
He projected upon the infinite background of Nature the light 
and the shadows, the joy and the despair which came and went 
in his own vexed and fitful spirit. He depicted in the colour 
and radiance of reality all the tender and terrible incidents 
of existence, the smiles that wreathe green meadows in the 
spring-time after rain, the gambolings of animals at pasture, 
the rushings of mighty tempests over field and forest, the 
great floods and rushings of rivers, the calms and storms on the 
high seas, the puny efforts of man stUl in the animal stage to 
preserve and to beautify his precarious existence, the horrors 
of plague and war, the folly of the fear of death, the burning 
thirst for love among all living creatures, the eternity and 
identity of the life which pulsates through the universe in 
all the myriad and mutable forces of animal being. The 
exposition of the philosophy of Epicurus binds together the 
detached and broken masses of his thought into the Uving unity 
of a single great poem, a solemn and indeed almost a religious 


6i B.C. book, not the most perfect but the most powerful achievement 
in the literature of Rome, in which posterity should recognise, 
not the caprice or the miracle of a solitary thinker lost in the 
wilderness of an imperial metropolis, but one of those mani- 
fold efforts to win power and knowledge and the heights of 
human greatness essayed by the men of that giant generation 
in the world of action and the world of thought. He stands 
for the heroic upward struggle of a reason which, in the sacred 
cause of truth, crushes indignantly beneath its feet the paltry 
superstitions of authority and religion. There are few greater 
gifts which Rome has bestowed upon mankind than the De 
Natura of Lucretius, which, Httle regarded among the men 
amongst whom it was written, has found its way across the 
ages, while the trophies, the monuments and the glory of so 
many of Rome's generals have perished in the gulf of time) 


Caesar's governorship in Spain — Pompeys triumph — Renewal 
of disorder at Rome — ^The pensioning of the veterans — ^The 
abolition of the customs — ^llie Directors of the Tax-farming 
Syndicate of Asia demand a reduction of the contract — 
Pompey's disillusion — Cicero and the capitalists — He publishes 
the lustory of his Consulship — His revelations about Crassus — 
The disturbances in Gaul— Caesar stands for the Consulship, 
and is elected — His preparations for his Consulship— He Cicero 
reconciles Pompey and Crassus, and attempts to win over 
— His design of restoring the Democratic Party of 70 — Secret 
coalition with Pompey and Crassus — First actions as Consul — 
Establishes a daily journal at Rome — The Land BiU — 
Obstruction of the Conservatives — Revelation of the coali- 
tion — Sudden change in Caesar's policy^-Caesar succeeds in 
reducing the Asiatic contract, and is paid for it in shares — 
The five years' governorship of Cisalpine Gaul — Supremacy 
of the coalition of Pompey, Crassus and Caesar — Vain rage of 
the Conservatives — Disgust of Cicero — Political powerlessness 
of the upper classes — Its causes — Catullus aind his loves — 
His poetry — CatuUus and the revolutionary party of Caesar — 
Measures taken by Caesar to consohdate his power — ^Alliance 
withClodius — Clodius, Cicero and Pompey — ^The plot of Vettius 
— ^The elections for 58 — ^The government of the Narbonese 
Province — Laws of Clodius — ^The Tammany HaU of Rome — 
Exile of Cicero — Cicero and Cato leave Italy. 

After the narrow escape from his creditors on the eve of depar- Csesar in 
ture, Casar was doubly sensible of the necessity of repairing ^p*""- 
the family fortunes. No sooner had he arrived in Spain than 
he jdevoted himself systematically to the amassing of money. 
Afl!er recruiting ten new cohorts and adding them to the 
twenty already in the province, he undertook expeditions 
against the Calljeci and the Lusitanians, and was merciless in 
sacking their villages even when they were ready to offer him 
allegiance.* As the province was burdened with debts con- 
tracted with Italian capitahsts during the war with Sertorius, 

* App., B. C, ii. 8 ; Dion, xxxvii. 52-53 ; Suet., Caes., 54 ; Plut., 
Caes.. 12. 


6l B.C. 




Second day. 


he applied the CatiUnarian remedy of a diminution of interest, 
and was paid huge sums by the cities in compensation.* 

At Rome Pompey had succeeded in securing his general 
Lucius Afranius as Consul for the year 60 with Quintus Metel- 
lus Celer, brother-in-law of Clodius, for a colleague. He was 
stiU putting off his triumph to await the arrival of his Asiatic 
spoils. At the end of September all was ready, and on the 
29th the procession set forth on the Appian Way. It was 
preceded by two great placards giving a full account of Pompey's 
achievements and proclaiming that by the tribute from the 
new provinces he had raised the revenue of the Republic 
from fifty to eighty milUon drachmse. Behind these placards 
came an interminable procession of waggons filled with armour 
and helmets and the prows of pirate ships. Then came mules 
bearing the money treasure, some sixty miUion drachmje, 
which the conqueror was paying into the treasury of the State. 
Then followed a marvellous collection of jewels belonging 
to Mithridates, carefully exhibited for the public gaze. Then, 
each on a special vehicle, all the most valuable objects he had 
brought home — a playing table composed entirely of two enor- 
mous precious stones, three magnificent beds, a couch of 
massive gold given by the King of the Iberians, thirty-five 
bands of pearls,- three colossal gold statues of Minerva, Mars 
and Apollo, a miniature temple of the Muses covered with 
gems and surmounted by a timepiece, a bed in which Darius, 
son of Hystaspes, had once slept, the throne and sceptre of 
Mithridates, his statue in silver, a bust of Pompey in pearls 
by a skilful Oriental artist, and a collection of strange tropical 
plants, amongst others the ebony. For hours and hours 
the treasures of the last Hellenistic monarch of Asia wound 
through the narrow streets of Rome, before the eyes of a huge 
and excited crowd which cheerfully faced the sun, the dust, 
the noise and the long waits of the huge procession, seemed 
never to grow tired of staring at the show, and kept up a 
running fire of applause or criticism at each strange and 
wonderful object as it passed, while the eyes of the women 
brightened at the magnificent jewellery which they saw set 

But this was only a first instalment. On the following day, 

which happened to be Pompey's birthday, came the turn of 

the living. First walked large groups of prisoners from all 

countries, from the pirates to the Arabs and Jews, all at liberty 

* Plut., CffiS., 12 5 Suet., Caes,, 54* 


and unchained — a picturesque ethnographical display of the 61 b.c. 
immense variety of nations over which Rome had extended 
her Empire. Then followed a crowd of princes and hostages, 
two celebrated pirate chiefs, the son of Tigranes, who had 
quarrelled with Pompey and had been deprived of his princi- 
pality of Sophene, seven sons of Mithridates, Aristobulus with 
a son and two daughters, and numerous Iberian and Albanian 
chieftains. Then came huge pictures depicting important 
episodes in the campaign, such as the flight of Tigranes and 
the death of Mithridates ; then strange idols worshipped by 
the barbarians. Last of all came the lord of the triumph 
himself, on a chariot decorated with pearls. He was clothed 
in a tunic said to have been worn by Alexander the Great, and 
followed by a glittering escort of commanders and tribunes 
on foot and on horse-back.* But the strangest sight of the 
day, and that which gave the Italians the most Hvely sense of 
being in truth the first among the nations, was when, at the end 
of the long progress through the streets, the hero of the triumph, 
who claimed to have extended the limits of Empire to the 
further end of the world, put off the garb of Alexander and 
modestly retired, a simple citizen, to the house of his fathers. 

Not long after the festival, towards the end of the year 61, Pompey's 
and in the early months of 60, discord broke out anew. Pompey theSen^e.'' 
was still desirous of a reconciHation with the Conservatives, 
and with this object he had asked Cato, according to one 
account for his two nieces, according to another for his two 
daughters, to marry the one and give the other to his eldest 
son.t Caesar's fortunes had never been in greater danger. 
But Cato, the uncompromising reactionary, gave a curt refusal. 
He did not care to see poUtics brought into family life, nor 
did he trust the conversion of a man who had already once 
deserted the Conservative side. None of the extreme reac- 
tionaries were in the mood to forgive Pompey, and now that 
he had disarmed himself by dismissing his troops, their thoughts 
were only of vengeance. They repHed to aU Pompey's advances 
by insulting attacks. When he asked the Senate to ratify 
the arrangements he had made in the East, he found numerous 

* The details of this description are taken from App., Mithr., 
116-117; Pliny, N. H., xxxvii., 2, 16, and Pint., Pomp. 45. These 
writers are not in agreement as to the sum paid in to the Treasury 
by Pompey. Plutarch gives the highest figure, zo,ooo talents, in 
which he includes the value of the gold and silver objects. Pliny 
gives a sum of 200 miUion sesterces. I have chosen the estimate of 
Appian, which falls between the two. t Pint., Cat. U., 30. 


60 B,c, Senators against him. Crassus and Lucullus opposed him out 
of spite, Cato and the Conservatives, in order to destroy the 
credit he had gained with the Eastern monarchs, and also 
perhaps to endanger his chances of recovering the huge sums 
he had lent them.* 
The abolition Another serious subject of dispute arose wdth regard to the 
and thl°^n"** disposal of the nev7 provincial revenues. Pompey made the 
sion scheme for yejy reasonable proposal of distributing part of them among 
his soldiers by buying land for them in Italy, and spending the 
rest on Italy as a whole by abolishing all import duties. The 
disbandment of troops which Pompey had just made was, 
next to SuUa's, the largest that had ever taken place since 
soldiering had become a profession for the poor. Since many 
of the troops, in spite of their twenty or twenty-five years in 
the East, had not succeeded in saving up enough money for 
their old age, it was necessary to provide them with pensions 
by the assignment of land on which to build themselves a 
cottage out of their savings, buy a few slaves and attempt to 
make a living by agriculture. The abolition of import duties 
was generally desired by the whole of Italy, for the consump- 
tion of wine, perfumery, furniture, dyes, stuffs and artistic 
work of all sorts from the East was steadily growing, even in 
towns of secondary importance, many of which were increasing 
greatly in prosperity. If the frontiers of Italy were thrown 
open, not only would Eastern imports be cheaper, but there 
would be an end of the interminable disputes with the financiers 
who farmed the taxes. f 

Pompey at once took steps to carry out these projects. It 
was at his instigation that the Tribune Lucius Flavius now 
proposed a Land BiU, and MeteUus Nepos a biU abolishing 
import duties in Italy upon imported products. Unfortunately 
the sudden increase of revenue had, as usual, whetted too many 
appetites. The Conservatives were anxious that the new funds 
should remain at the disposition of the Senate to increase the 
sums assigned to the provincial Governorships and other 
branches of the public service in which Senators found a living. 
The powerful company which had contracted for the taxes 
* Dion, xxxvii., 49. App., B. C. ii. 9. 

t Caes., B. C. iii., 31, 2 ; iii., 32, 6, and Dion, xxxix., 59, prove the 
existence of syndicates of tax-farmers in Syria at the time of the civil 
war and a few years before. It seems probable that these syndicates 
were formed at this time, immediately after the annexation. I believe 
it to be to these societies that Cicero is alluding (A., i. 19, 4), when he 
speaks of the " adventicia pecunia . . . quae ex novis vectigalibus per 
quinquennium reciperetur." 

The Asiatic 
clamour for a 
new contract. 


of Asia seized the opportunity to petition the Senate, with the 60 b.c. 
assistance of Crassus, who was probably a shareholder, for the 
reduction of their contract prices, urging that it had offered 
too high a figure and stood to lose upon the transaction.* The 
result was a long-drawn series of pohtical squabbles which 
finally succeeded in driving Pompey off his balance and shatter- 
ing the already weakened nerves of Cicero. 

Pompey, who had come to Rome sated vnth success and with cicero and the 
the sole intention of basking in the sunshine of renown and '^P't^Jists. 
riches, now found himself entangled in a miserable network 
of intrigues, which were aU the more aggravating because, in 
spite of his affectation of contempt for his enemies, he was 
quite unsuccessful in defeating them. Cicero, disgusted at 
the Conservatives, disquieted by the growing violence of the 
demagogues, and distressed above measure at his own rapid loss 
of prestige, endeavoured to disarm the hostiHty of the tax- 
farmers by undertaking their defence in the Senate. He 
confided however to Atticus in a private, letter, that he thought 
their cupidity outrageous. He was anxious too to draw near 
to Pompey, though he had not the courage to take the neces- 
sary steps. He told Atticus in self-defence that he had hopes 
of converting the chief of the popular party.t He had at 
length completed and pubHshed the Greek history of his The history of 
Consulate,! but not without a serious mishap. In order to ""* Consulate, 
prove that he was not lightly influenced by vague reports, 
and to shield himself, though without saying so, from the 
accusations of Clodius, he mentioned in the book that Crassus 
had one evening brought him a bundle of informers' letters 
against Catiline. Crassus, who had recovered from his alarm 
and was once more angling for popularity, was furious at a 
revelation which placed him among the number of the per- 
secutors of Catiline. So Cicero had succeeded in making 
another enemy.§ 

Meanwhile, apart from the question of the abolition of the The German 
import duties, || the numerous discussions which had taken ''*"' " *'*"*■ 
place in the Forum and the Senate had led to no result of 
importance. Neither Pompey's general administration in 
the East nor the Land BiU, nor the reduction of the Asiatic 
contract, had yet been ratified. To crown all, there now 
suddenly arrived very alarming news from Gaul. The spectre 

* Cic, A., i. 17, 9. t ^^- i- 17' I" ; '• 19' T> "■ '■ ^^ 

% Id., i. 19, 10. § Plut., Crass., 13. 

II Dion, xxxvii. 51. 


60 B.C. of a new German invasion suddenly loomed up again on the 
horizon. It was reported that the Helvetii, one of the most 
warlike peoples in Gaul, who had taken part in the invasion 
of the Cimbri and Teutones, were preparing to leave their 
mountains and to invade and subdue Gaul ; they were said 
to be aiming at the establishment of a great Celtic Empire 
beneath their military hegemony, and to be looking about 
for allies to support them in their enterprise.* It was generally 
agreed that if the Helvetii succeeded in conquering Gaul, they 
would at once hurl their forces upon Italy. This alarming 
intelligence finally dispelled the easy confidence which it had 
been customary to preserve on Gallic affairs. AU other 
questions were ruled out of court and the Senate decided that 
the two Consuls should draw lots for the two GalHc provinces, 
the Cisalpine and the Narbonese, that a levy should imme- 
diately be made, that aU exceptions from miUtary service 
should be suspended, and finally that three ambassadors should 
be sent to Gaul to study the situation on the spot.t One 
group of politicians, headed by the Consul MeteUus, J went still 
further. They proposed to declare war at once upon the 
Helvetii to crush them before they left their own country. 
The imperialist spirit which had been so Hvely at Rome since 
the conquests of Lucullus and Pompey snatched at every 
opportunity that arose ; and all over Italy there were ruined 
nobles and ambitious adventurers only thirsting for an oppor- 
tunity to win glory and plunder. Since the interminable dis- 
cussions on Pompey's administration closed the East just now to 
Roman enterprise, the opportunity afforded by a war in Gaul 
was not lightly to be dismissed. 
Cxsar elected Meanwhile, towards the middle of the year 60, Caesar 
hurriedly returned from Spain to contest the Consulship for 
59. There were this year three candidates for the Consulship : 
Caesar, a dilettante historian called Lucius Lucceius, who had 
lived long in Egypt and was exceedingly wealthy, and Marcus 
Bibulus, a reactionary Conservative, who had already been 
Caesar's colleague both as ^dile and Prsetor. Lucceius, who 
belonged to neither party and was merely anxious to be elected 
for the honour of the position, was appealed to by both candi- 
dates in the hope that he would defray their election expenses. 
But the popular demagogue was more persuasive than the 

* Cic. de Div., ii., xli., 90 ; A., i., 19, 2. 

t Id., A., i. 19, 2-4. 

J Cic, A., i. 20, 5. See Appendix D. 



nominee of the reactionaries, and Bibulus was obliged to have 60 b.c. 
recourse to his own friends, who raised a subscription for his 
expenses.* Even Cato consented for once to subscribe, in his 
apprehension as to what the Consulship of a Caesar might bring 
forth. Caesar and Bibulus were elected, and the unfortunate 
millionaire who had paid the expenses was left in the lurch. 
As a set off against this election, the Conservatives induced the 
Senate to decide that the pro-Consular duty of the two Consuls 
for 59 should consist in the overseeing of roads and forests, an 
administrative position of quite secondary importance. By 
this ludicrous strategem the Senate thought to guard itself 
beforehand against the design which was commonly attributed 
to Caesar of applying in some new corner of the world the 
pohtical methods of Lucullus and Pompey.f 

As to what Caesar's schemes at this moment precisely were Cesar's ^ossi- 
we have no information. Three great enterprises stiU lay 
open at this time to Roman policy — the annexation of Egypt, 
the invasion of Parthia, and the extension of the Roman 
dominion in Europe towards the Danube and the Rhine. In 
spite of the imminence of a GaUic war at this moment, Cassar 
could hardly be thinking of any enterprise in that country : 
for Cisalpine Gaul had fallen to Metellus Celer, who was just 
arranging to leave Rome for his army. J 

Nor can Caesar be credited with harbouring any designs The Demo- 
upon Egypt. The Democratic party had abandoned the ptoiemy. 
schemes it had entertained in 65 and was now showing a greater 
zeal even than the Senate for the preservation of Egyptian 
independence. It was Ptolemy Auletes who had brought 
about this miraculous conversion. No longer hoping for any 
assistance from Pompey, he had conceived the daring design 
of wringing out of the very politicians who a few years before 
had tried to rob him of his kingdom that recognition of his 
authority which the Senate stiU hesitated to grant him. He 
was engaged in negotiations with Crassus, Pompey and Csesar 
and had promised them an enormous sum — 6000 talents — if 
they secured his recognition by Rome as a legitimate sovereign. 

* Cic, A., i. 17, II ; Suet., Caes., 19. 

f Suet., Caes., 19. I here follow Suetonius, and not Dion, xxxvii. 
54; Plut., Caes., 13; Pomp., 47; Crass., 14, and App., B. C, ii. 9, 
who place the reconciliation of Crassus and Pompey through Caesar 
before the elections. This seems to me unlikely, for Caesar, who only 
ardved in Rome shortly before the election, could not have had time 
to undertake the lengthy intrigues preliminaiy to the reconciliation. 

{ Cic, A., i. 20, 5. 

6o B.C. 

Caesar and 

Cxsar and the 
old Moderate 

for tlie new 



It is the most likely solution therefore, though it is a con- 
jecture unsupported by evidence, that Csesar was already at 
this time dreaming of the conquest of Parthia, which Lucullus 
had designed but been forced to abandon. Since then it had 
fallen to Pompey to undertake it ; and though both Pompey 
and Lucullus had turned back upon the frontier, the idea that 
it was Rome's destiny to conquer the great Parthian Empire 
was already widespread. A confirmation of this conjecture 
may be found in the emphasis with which, four years afterwards, 
Csesar urged Crassus to this very undertaking. 

But these were dreams in the far distance ; and just now 
present troubles were sufficiently pressing. The petty manoeuvre 
of the Senate was a warning to the Consul designate to enter- 
tain no illusions on the attitude of his opponents. Caesar at 
once made preparations for the struggle ; but he acted in the 
style which his enemies least expected. While the Conserva- 
tives were on the look-out for a year of turbulence, Caesar was 
gradually returning to those moderate ideas which were more 
in harmony with his character, his social position and his 
interests. His scheme for fighting the Conservative party 
was a very simple one. He intended to reorganise the moderate 
and reforming Democratic party of the year 70, which had 
enlisted the support both of the upper and middle classes. 
Enfeebled by events and by the blunders of its leaders, this 
party had been finally dispersed by the conspiracy of Catiline. 
But it could easily be brought together again if only its more 
powerful chiefs could be induced to join hands : if only, that 
is, a coalition could be formed between Crassus, Pompey and 

It was a difficult undertaking, but it was far from impossible. 
Pompey needed the ratification of his administration in the 
East ; Crassus, discredited among the Conservatives by his 
Egyptian project and among the Democrats by his ambiguous 
attitude during the conspiracy, was anxious to recover his old 
popularity. As for Cicero, all he wdshed was to efface the 
impression of the condemnation of the Catilinarians. During 
the months which he spent at Rome as Consul designate, 
Caesar manoeuvred so adroitly that he succeeded in breaking 
down the old hostility between Pompey and Crassus. The 
reconciliation was of course still kept secret ; neither of the 
three wished it to become publicly known, lest their enemies, 
who were still powerful, should be frightened into fresh energy.* 
* Dion, 42, 58. 


At the same time, Publius Cornelius Balbus, a Spaniard from 60 b.c, 
Cadiz, whom Pompey had made a Roman citizen, and who 
was a friend of several important personages at Rome, was [Cades.] 
entrusted with the task of negotiating with Cicero and suggest- 
ing an aUiance with Crassus and Pompey. 

The scheme for the coaUtion thus gradually took shape. Cicero decides 
By taking up a conciliatory attitude and securing the support *° ^^°'' ""*" 
of Cicero, Crassus and Pompey, Caesar hoped to bring over 
to his side those moderate Senators, actually a majority in that 
body, who had ever since the conspiracy of CatiHne voted in 
blind terror for the small group of extreme Conservatives. 
He hoped to bring matters back to the good old days of the 
year 70 and to have pubUc affairs again transacted by a coahtion 
of four. Had not the great battles of those days against the 
Conservative cabal been won in the Senate, the Assembly and 
the Forum by the joint action of Pompey, Crassus, Cicero 
and himself ? Cicero was exceedingly flattered by the offer : 
but he had fallen into a morbid and vacillating state and could 
not be persuaded into answering either yes or no.* Disappoint- 
ing as this was, it did not interfere with the project as a whole. 
Even without Cicero the coalition of Crassus and Pompey 
would be sufficient to reconstitute the party, and it was Caesar 
himself who would gain all the advantages of the arrangement. 
Not only would he secure an important pro-Consular command 
but he would use his office to gain himself a fortune. It was 
as impossible then, as it is nowadays, to play a prominent 
political part without considerable expenditure. On his 
return from Spain, Caesar had given nothing to his creditors, 
or at least to those among them who did not make his hfe 
a burden ; he continued to owe a large sum to Atticus 
and also to be in the debt of Pompey.f He now therefore 

* Cic, A., ii. 3, 3. The attempts made to win over Cicero are, to 
my mind, the decisive proof that Caesar's first design was to re- 
constitute the constitutional Democratic party of 70. In this case, 
the moderation displayed by Caesar at the beginning of his Consulship 
was not a mask, as supposed by Appian, B. C, ii. 10. What use 
would hypocrisy have been to Caesar if he had already decided on the 
revolutionary policy that he adopted during his Consulship ? That 
policy was the result, as we shall see, of a sudden change of ideas 
and programme. Nor is it probable that Pompey and Crassus would 
have joined the coalition if they had known that Caesar's Consulship 
would end as it did. 

t A passage of Cicero (A., vi. i, 25), shows us that in 50 Atticus 
and Pompey were among Caesar's creditors. These debts must have 
been contracted previous to his Consulship, for it is hardly likely that 
the Proconsul of Gaul would have borrowed 50 talents from Atticus. 

6o B.C. 

Ariovistus pro- 
poses an 

Caesar's first 
speech as Con- 


accepted the extremely favourable advances of Ptolemy Auletes 
and further promised during his Consulship to effect a diminu- 
tion of the contract of the company which farmed the taxes 
of Asia. The directors were pledged, in exchange, to give 
him a large number of shares in the company.* 

While Caesar was making these preparations for his Consul- 
ship, there was a curious development in the Gallic situation. 
If the sensation caused by the first news about the Helvetii 
had slightly worn off, Metellus was continuing his preparation 
with undiminished activity. But in the midst of his arrange- 
ments he had been surprised and embarrassed by a very singular 
proposal. Profiting by the anxiety felt at Rome about the 
Helvetii, Ariovistus, King of the Suevi, proposed himself to 
Rome as an ally ; he offered, that is, if occasion arose, to fight 
on the side of the Romans against the new Cimbri and Teutones. 
Ariovistus was the enemy of the .^dui, the old aUies of Rome, 
in whose favour the Senate had passed an important decree only 
the year before. If Rome accepted the alliance of Ariovistus, 
she would be canceUing this ^duan decree, which had been 
specially directed against the King of the Suevi, and would 
be declaring herself the Friend and Ally of two peoples hostile 
to one another, a situation which might some day give rise 
to serious complications. Nevertheless the offer of Ariovistus 
was very tempting. The help of the Suevi, the most warlike 
people in Gaul, might prove exceedingly useful in a war against 
the Helvetii. There was therefore a party in Rome favourable 
to the aUiance with the Suevi and anxious to sacrifice the .^dui 
and the original object of the aUiance with them to the neces- 
sity of preventing a possible coalition between Ariovistus and 
the Helvetii. Moreover Ariovistus for his part seemed very 
anxious for the Roman alliance and made large presents to 
MeteUus, who seems to have been doubtful about entertaining 
the offer.t 

In the midst of these preparations and vicissitudes the year 
60 expired and Csesar became Consul. He had at length 

* We know of this intrigue from brief allusions in Cic, in Vat., xii. 
29. Cicero says that in 59 Vatinius extorted from Caesar and the 
tax-farmers " partes carissimas," i.e., shares in the Asiatic company 
which had had its contract reduced. It is clear that the financiers 
must have given Vatinius the shares for his trouble in securing the 
passing of the reduction. It is, therefore almost certain that Cassar's 
shares, which he passed on to Vatinius in payment for certain services, 
were also given him in return for services rendered, by the directors 
of the company. 

■f Pliny, N., H. ii. 67, 170. See Appendix D^ 


attained the supreme ambition of the poKtical career of every 60 b.c. 
Roman. No sooner had he entered upon his office than he 
made a speech in the Senate protesting his anxiety to act on 
every occasion in agreement with Bibulus, and he took several 
opportunities of testifying to his respect for his colleague.* 

He also made an administrative reform which must have Caesar's place 
pleased the middle class and for which Caesar deserves a small '°J°"™*'^'"- 
place in the history of journalism. It was he who originated 
at Rome what we should describe in modern language as a 
popular newspaper. With the increase of wealth and education 
curiosity had very naturally kept pace, and there were people 
in Rome who sought to gain a living by doing something 
analagous to the modern journalist. They collected what they 
considered to be the most important and interesting public 
and private information of the day, and at regular intervals 
every few days they collected it into a small handbook and had 
it copied several times by a slave, distributing the copies to 
subscribers.t Naturally this was a luxury which only the rich 
could afford. Csesar seems to have passed a decree that one of 
the magistrates should be entrusted with the duty of causing 
a resume of aU the most important news to be inscribed on 
whitewashed walls in different parts of the city, with the 
arrangement that when the news was stale, the wall should be 
whitewashed again for other news to take its place. J In this 
way even the poorest of the people could be kept informed 
about aU that went on. Cssar also arranged that reports of 
sittings of the Senate should be made in a more regular manner 
and put at the disposition of the pubUc.§ 

Thinking that he had paved the way for more extended Caesar^ first 
action, Csesar now put forward a Land BiU. It enacted that 
twenty commissioners should be entrusted with the duty of 
distributing to the veterans and the poor aU that remained 
of the public land with the exception of Campania, with the 
addition of other land to be bought on reasonable terms with 
the money brought in by Pompey.|| This was both a wise 
and a moderate proposal,^ and on presenting it to the Senate 

* App., B. C, ii. 10 ; Dion, xxicviii. i. 

t See Daremberg and Saglio, D. A., i. 50. Huebner, de senatus 
popuUque Romani actis, Lipsise, i860 ; E. Caetani LovatelU, I giornali 
dei Romani in the Nuova Antologia, Nov. i, 1901. Also Cic, F. 
viii. I, I ; viii. 2, 2 ; viii. 11, 14 ; Suet., Cses., 20. 

% Daremberg and Saglio, D. A., i. 50. 

§ Id., D. A., i. 51. See Suet., Caes., 20. || Dion, xxxviii. i. 

\ I believe that Caesar proposed two Land Bills at some months 
distance. The decisive passages are Cic, A., ii. 16, 1,2; ii. 18, 2. 

59 B.c, 

The Trium- 
virate re- 

Effect of the 


Caesar declared that he was ready to listen to any objections 
that might be offered. But he was very soon deceived in his 
hopes of a return to the Democratic victories of the year 70. 
Times and tempers had changed too much in the interval. 
The ominous conjunction of the words Caesar and Land BiU 
was too much for the reactionaries ; and the landlords, who 
were strongly represented in the Senate, particularly those 
who were in possession of land bought during the proscriptions 
of Sulla, were much dismayed at a biU which put into the 
hands of twenty commissioners a power which it would be 
easy to abuse. The Conservatives thus easily succeeded, under 
one pretext and another, in postponing the discussion of the 
BiU in the weak and irresolute Senate.* 

Caesar was patient for some time, while Calenus, who was 
Praetor, and Publius Vatinius, an obscure poUtical adventurer 
who was Tribune, proposed reforms in the law regulating the 
courts.t At length seeing that neither Crassus nor himself 
would be successful in securing that the BiU should be discussed 
by the Senate, Caesar declared that he would simply have it 
proposed to the electors.! This caused a great sensation. 
With the assistance of Cato and the Conservatives, Bibulus 
entered into a violent campaign of obstruction on religious 
grounds to prevent the meeting of the people.§ Caesar's 
patience broke down, and he began to work upon the feelings 
of his supporters. FinaUy, after doing aU he could to win 
Bibulus to his side, he played his trump card. He appealed 
openly to Crassus and Pompey for their help. Crassus and 
Pompey came down to the Forum and declared that the 
factious obstruction of the Conservatives must be broken down 
by force if persuasion proved insufficient. || On this the BiU 
was approved amidst a scene of tumultuous excitement. A 
clause added at the last moment forced the Senators to swear 
that they would faithfully observe it. 

But this success was as nothing in comparison with the effect 
produced upon the pubUc when it became known that the 
three powerful personages whom every one had thought to be 
enemies had aU the while been acting in concert. It was the 
struggle between Crassus and Pompey which, in spite of rebuff 

Ses Suet., Caes., 20 ; Plut., Cat., U., 32, 33 ; App., B. C, ii. 10 ; Dion, 
xxxviii. I ; Napoleon III., J. C, i. 381 n. 2. Lange, E. A., iii. 279. 

* Dion, xxxviii. 2. 

t Lange, R. A., iii. 275. + Dion, xxxviii. 3. 

§ Id., xxxviii., 6 ; App., B. C, ii. 11. 

Ij App., B. C, ii. 10 ; Hut., Pomp., 47 ; Cses., 14, 


after rebuff and scandal after scandal, had made it possible for 59 b.c. 
the reactionaries to remain in power so long ; and the quarrel 
between the two men was so bitter and of such long standing 
that the world had come to regard it as permanent. Now, 
suddenly, and almost by miracle, the two enemies were seen 
to be sworn allies : and both came forward in the cause of 
Caesar, the redoubtable leader of all the rabble in Rome. The 
discovery caused an immense sensation. It was evident that 
if Pompey, Crassus and Csesar united their forces, they could 
do what they liked with the electors, and that henceforward 
without their consent it would be well-nigh impossible to 
obtain either an office or a command or a mission or a loan. 
The majority of the Senators thought only of office, money and 
influence. As usual, therefore, they took sides with the big 
battalions and hastily trooped away from the small faction of 
reactionary Conservatives, who had rallied, since the death 
of Catulus, round the standard of Cato. 

When the body has prepared itself for an effort far out of pro- Caesar-s 
portion to the obstacle to be encountered, it is apt to lose its ^^f " 
equilibrium ; and the same law holds good of the action of cha- 
racter. This was curiously exemplified by Caesar's behaviour 
at this juncture. If Caesar's was a nature naturally prone to 
moderation, he was yet quick to catch fire from the influence 
of the moment, and he could hardly escape being inflamed 
by the political society around him — a society from which aU 
the reasonable spirits were being gradually withdrawn, and 
where, from Cato to Clodius, from Gabinius to Bibulus, sound 
and fury were the powerful and predominating elements. 
He had begun by being cautious and respectful ; but em- 
boldened by the success of the Land Bill and by the unexpected 
display of his recent increase of power, and furious at the factious 
opposition of the Conservatives, he changed his tactics vnth a 
swiftness and agility of which only he was capable, and swung 
round to the idea of an unadulterated democracy. His notion 
was now to found at Rome a democracy similar to the demo- 
cracies of Greece, which dispensed with a Senate and governed 
their Empires single-handed through the deliberative assembly 
of the people. Such a democracy, with three men distin- 
guished for eloquence, riches and renown at its head, would 
be capable, as it had already shown by its settlement of the 
Land Bill, of dealing satisfactorily with all those questions of 
foreign policy and finance of which the Senate had hitherto 
had the supreme control. 

59 B.C. 

The vacancy 
in Gaul. 

The Cisalpme 

The reduction 
of the Asiatic 


An unexpected event brought Caesar's resolve to a head. 
Towards the middle of February, Quintus Metellus Celer 
died on the eve of his departure for Cisalpine Gaul. He vpas 
still so young, and his death was so unexpected, that his wife 
Clodia was suspected of having poisoned him.* The government 
of Gaul, which meant the command in the imminent war 
against the Helvetii, became vacant through his death. It 
was at this moment undoubtedly that Caesar first entertained 
the idea of securing an extraordinary command in Gaul. 
Though he knew very Httle about Gallic affairs, the idea of 
conducting a campaign against the nation whom Italy regarded 
as a new German invader, could not fail to attract him. By 
a campaign against the Helvetii he would be following in the 
great tradition of his uncle and his party, and would show Italy 
once more that only the Democrats could defend her against 
the northern barbarians. 

But the Senate could not be expected to sanction such an 
arrangement. He must appeal, as Pompey had appealed in 
similar case, direct to the Assembly of the people. Caesar did 
not lose an instant. He gave up any other ideas of conquest 
which he may hitherto have entertained, and tried to spread 
the belief that a serious war in Gaul was perilously imminent. | 
Profiting by the impression created by his alliance with Crassus 
and Pompey, he made Vatinius propose to the people a biU 
entrusting him for five years with the government of Cisalpine 
Gaul and lUyria with three legions, dating from the date of 
the promulgation of the bill. In case war broke out before the 
end of the year, he would thus be enabled to take command at 
once, following the example of LucuUus. Thanks largely to 
the stupefaction which reigned in political circles, as well 
as to his own activity and the help of Crassus and Pompey, 
the biU was passed without difficulty and promulgated on 
March i. 

When this stroke had gone safely home^ Caesar went on to 
three further projects. He persuaded the people to acknow- 
ledge Ptolemy Auletes as a friend of the Roman people, 

* Cic, pro Gael., xxiv., 59. 

t Lange, R. A., iii. 283, has shown the connection between the 
death of Metellus Celer and the law granting Caesar the Gallic command. 
I believe, also, that this provides the only possible explanation why 
Caesar's imperium dated from March i, 59, and Narbonese Gaul was 
added later by the Senate. CaesEir secured the command directly 
after the death of Metellus to defeat the intrigues of the Conservatives ; 
the first of March must be the date on which the law was promulgated. 
The other explanations of the problem are unsatisfactory. 


sharing with his friends the reward which he received for his 59 b.c. 
success. He persuaded them also to reduce the contract 
which the tax-farmers had demanded from the Senate, and 
to approve the Asiatic administration of Pompey.* The 
shares in the tax-farming company of Asia immediately rose 
in value. ■]• 

Caesar thus moved from success to success. Nor did he rest The second 
content even here. Hoping to ensure the permanence of the 
coalition, he persuaded Pompey in April to marry his daughter 
Julia,t who was betrothed to Servihus Caepio. Cspio was to 
be consoled with a daughter of Pompey instead. Then, 
towards the end of April,§ Caesar proposed a second Land Bill 
according to which the land in Campania from which the 
State drew a considerable revenue, was also to be distributed 
among poor citizens with families. The principal object of 
the measure was to impoverish the Treasury and thus to injure 
the Conservatives, who had repeatedly used their power in the 
Senate to spend pubhc money in defence of their own interests. 
Its principal eiffect was to complete the Agrarian revolution 
begun by Spurius Thorius in 1 18 and to destroy the last vestiges 
of the Common Land system in Italy. 

Never before had the Senate been so boldly assailed in its The decrees of 
most ancient and revered prerogatives. In comparison with 
these attacks, how futUe seemed the projects for which Caius 
Gracchus had met his death. For Caesar now went so far as 
not to convene the Senate at all. He acted, and showed that 
he acted, as the master of the situation, || without any one 
daring to offer him a serious resistance. Futile recriminations, 
elaborate witticisms, a few vain and sporadic outbursts of 
temper — this was all that the Conservative party could set 
against a revolutionary Consul. Bibulus, stUl obstinate in his 
ritualistic sophistries, had declared the last meetings of the 
people to be null and void, and continued to emit a stream of 
violent decrees against Caesar, Pompey and Crassus. 

* Dion, xxxviii. 7 ; Appian, B. C, ii. 13 ; Suet., Caes., zo. 

t This is clear from Cic, in Vat., xii. 29. Partes illo tempore 
(in 59), carissimas. 

i Cic., A., ii. 17, 1. App., B. C, ii. 14; Plut., Caes., 14. It can 
only have been after the unexpected success of the coalition that he 
thought of the marriage, since the girl had already been betrothed 
to another. This shows clearly that his success was a surprise, and 
that the policy of the Consulate was not what it had been intended 
to be durmg the previous months. 

§ Cic., A., ii. 16/ I. 

II Suet., Css., 20. 


59 B.C. Varro had christened the alliance of Cssar, Pompey and 

Crassus the Three-Headed Monster, and the jest had been 
The Three- Successfully repeated in the aristocratic sa/ons, where from 
Headed Mon- morning to night the names of the three chiefs of the victorious 
democracy were taken in vain. Crassus was a disgusting 
usurer, who sold his vote in the open Senate and received 
criminals in his house for a consideration. Pompey was a 
farcical hero in a campaign without battles, who had married 
the daughter of the man who had had relations with his first 
wife. Caesar was the accomplice of CatiUne and the favourite 
of Nicomedes. Among the middle and upper classes, in the 
wealthy and cultured circles which took no part in pohtics 
but criticised all that went on in the spirit of detached and 
impartial spectators, the overwhelming power of the Caucus 
attracted to Caesar, Crassus and Pompey a great part of the 
aversion which at Rome, as in all democracies, is always reserved 
for any party or group of men, whatever their character, who 
succeed in securing the sweets of power. At the street corners 
where the furious edicts of Bibulus were exposed, the crowd 
was so great that it was almost impossible to pass by. Bibulus 
was in fact becoming almost popular,* while Caesar, Pompey 
and Crassus were sometimes given a chilling reception at 
festivals and public ceremonies.f The younger generation 
in the upper classes, more vain and precocious even than that 
which had preceded it, affected an exalted contempt for the 
vulgar demagogy which Caesar seemed definitely to have 
established at Rome. J 
Cicero and the Cicero was particularly grieved about the " Dynasts." He 
Dynasts. wrote to Atticus that Pompey was certainly aspiring to the 
tyranny, and that the indifference of the great and the impu- 
dence of a few ambitious upstarts was transforming the Republic 
into a Monarchy. Nor could he easily resign himself to playing 
the rSle of a secondary personage.§ He had good reasons for 
anxiety, not only because of his sincere repugnance against 
the tyranny of demagogues, but also owing to the growing 
audacity of Clodius, who was under the open protection of 
Pompey and Caesar and desired to renounce his patrician rank 
to become Tribune of the people. The legal difHculties 
involved in this step were considerable, but Caesar came to his 
help and succeeded by a Lex Curiata de Arrogatione in making 

* Cic, A., ii. 19, 2 ; ii. 20, 4 ; ii, 21, 4. 
t Id., 19, 3. X Id., ii. 8, I. 

§ Id., ii. 17, 2. 


him a plebeian. He was certain to be elected Tribune in the 59 b.c. 
following year.* 

But these outbursts of hostility and fury seemed to exercise Pompey as a 
not the slightest influence. It is true that Pompey, who had " ^°"' ' 
expected to become, as in 70, the chief of a new Democratic 
party, composed of distinguished and constitutional politicians, 
had been a little surprised to find himself ranked beside Caesar 
and Crassus as the chief of a mob-government repugnant to his 
aristocratic temper. He had never learned to drink at the 
muddy springs of popular invective, and he hid much of that 
delicate susceptibility so characteristic of the aristocratic temper 
which makes nobles to-day instinctively hostile to the hberty 
of the Press ; t and he must have suffered sorely in secret 
from the insults of Bibulus and his compeers. He was also 
somewhat disturbed by Csesar's domination and attempted by 
skilful sophistries to divest himself of his share of responsibility 
for his behaviour. J But Crassus was free from all such qualms ; 
at once less burdened with prejudices and more frankly egois- 
tical, he thoroughly enjoyed his new post of power. 

Meanwhile Caesar, who seemed to grow bolder daily, was Casar lord of 
the open and undisputed lord of Rome. Neither he nor °"°*' 
Crassus was much concerned by the animosity of the upper 
classes. Open opposition against them there was none. No 
one ventured to repeat in public what every one was saying 
in the privacy of his own house. The rare sessions of the 
Senate were thinly attended, and the Conservative party 
meetings at the house of Bibulus § were emptier stiU. Cicero 
in his letters to Atticus spoke bitterly of the cowardice of the 
Senators ; but he followed the discreet example of the rest of 
the citizens. II 

Meanwhile even if the Democratic party was not, as Cato The course of 
maintained, composed solely of drunkards,^ Caesar, Pompey public, 
and Crassus were in reality nothing more than the chiefs of a 
political following which was detested by those classes of the 
State which were in possession of wealth and culture. How 
could a rabble of this sort continue to be supreme in a free 
Republic with elective institutions ? What mysterious agency 
had suddenly destroyed the whole strength of the upper classes 

* Lange, R. A., iii. 277. 

t Cic, A., ii. 21, 3. { Id., ii. 16, 2. 

I App., B. C, ii. III. What Appian calls the /SouXr; can only 
have been the meeting of Cato's adherents. Bibulus cannot have had 
a house big enough to accommodate the Senate. 

II See Cic, A., ii. 15, 16, 17, 21. ^ Suet., Caes., 53. 


59 B.C. and of that august assembly which had for centuries governed 
first the small province of Latium, then the Italian peninsula, 
and lately a world-wide Empire ? That mysterious agency 
was the commercial spirit which had entered in to destroy all 
ancient institutions. 
Individualism In the old agricultural society with its organised military 
V. e ciency. arfstocracy, the Senate derived its energy and authority from 
the fact that it represented a single governing class, a class 
consisting of a landed nobility, which had been fitted by a 
special training for war and government, which had been 
subjected to a stern disciphne at home and in society, and 
which was in essential agreement on the few vital questions 
that political life in a simple state of civilisation brought 
forward for settlement. But with the growth of imperiaHsm, 
with the progress of the commercial spirit, with the temptations 
of culture and luxury, in a word with the progress of all that 
we are accustomed to call civiHsation, the old traditions had 
become extinct. The development of the selfish passions, of 
cupidity, ambition and self-indulgence, had driven many 
members of the upper classes from political Hfe. There was no 
longer at Rome, as of old, a disciplined and homogeneous body 
of citizens ready to undertake the responsibilities of 
government. Instead there was an infinite variety of in- 
dividuals each of whom was greedy for special pleasures and 
attracted to special occupations or special vices. None of 
them was inclined to increase his labours or interrupt his 
enjoyment by busying himself vsrith public afl:airs. AUwere 
too much engaged at home, too selfish, too unsympathetic 
to one another, to be able to work harmoniously in an interest 
common to them all. 
CatuUus in It was just at this time that Rome brought forth her first 

Roman society. ^^^ greatest lyric poet, whose wild and passionate notes, with 
their touch of personal anguish, are symbolic of a tempestuous 
change of climate in Roman society. Born in the year 84 of 
a rich family at Verona,** Caius Valerius Catullus received an 
excellent literary education and at twenty years of age had made 
his way to the capital. Introduced into high society by 
Cornehus Nepos,_he soon made the acquaintance of all the 
well-known poHticians, the rich merchants, and the distin- 
guished ladies of the city. While he continued to buy 
books and to study,! he had given himself up with almost 

* See, for the date, Giussani, L. R., p, 158.- 
■f£Cat., 68, 31. 


barbaric impetuosity to a life of pleasure, running recklessly 59 b.c. 

into debt, quarrelling with an over-thrifty father,* and paying 

court to fine ladies. He had fallen passionately in love with 

the beautiful but notorious Clodia, vdfe of Metellus Celer. 

It had not been difficult to break down the hesitation of an 

easy-hearted woman who must have been pleased for a moment 

with the half mad outbursts of a country youth, as a new solace 

and distraction after the light lovers of the day. Catullus 

answered the evasive caprices of Clodia with a jealous passion 

for his Lesbia, whom he claimed entirely as his own and for 

whom he wore himself out during these years in a succession 

of quarrels and reconciliations, appeals and invectives, despair 

and appeasements, •)■ which in no way disturbed their object 

in the even tenor of a life of pleasure. 

It was to console himself amid the torments of his passion His poetry- 
that Catullus took refuge in his extraordinary poetic genius. 
In verses of an almost brutal sincerity, of a marvellous power 
and variety of rhythm, subject and expression, he put into 
music all the most trivial and sorrowful moments of his Ufe, 
the sudden and violent onset of sensual appetite, the tender 
confidences of friendship, the melancholy of departure on a 
distant voyage, the mourning for a brother who died young 
in Asia, the breezes and bluster of fugitive anger, and the 
tender and fleeting play of fancy when, amid the noise and 
frivolity of Rome, his thoughts won back to his native Lake 
of Garda in its lonely peace, to the little house at Sirmio 
which waited for him as an old nurse awaits a wandering 
child, who is astray in a wide and hungry world. Above all 
he is the poet of love — ^love in the fierceness and jealousy of 
its longing, with all its tortures and aU its poignancy, and 
the insoluble contradiction that seems to gnaw at its heart. 

Odi et amo. Quare id faciam fortasse requiris. 
Nescio, sed fieri sentio, et excrucior.i 

The lyric poetry of Catullus would be sufiicient by itself to CatnUus and 
explain the success of the poUtical revolution made by Caesar '^^s*- 
during his Consulship. Poetry so personal and passionate in its 
expression could surely only proceed from an age in which the 
upper and cultivated classes had dispersed upon an individual 
search for the diverse enjoyments of life, from wealth up to 

* Giussani, L. R., 159, 

* Gmssaiu, L. JK., 159. 

t E.g. CatuUus, 42, SI, 68, U. 131 i., 70, 72, 77, 93. 

t Cat, 850 


59 B.C. love, from play to philosophy, abandoning the affairs of govern- 
ment to a class of professional politicians, the majority of whom 
was at the back and call of any clique or party which for the 
moment seemed to be in power. 
Submission of Now that Caesar had boldly usurped the powers of the Senate^ 
tive^""^^"*' the majority of the Senators were afraid to be on bad terms 
with the three chiefs of the all-powerful democracy. Cato 
and Bibulus tried in vain to organise an opposition ; the upper 
classes, dissatisfied but resigned, tamely submitted to the 
tyranny of the caucus. Lucullus alone attempted for a moment 
to oppose the triumvirs ; but when Caesar threatened him with 
a prosecution about the booty he had made in his Eastern wars 
he relapsed once more into silence. 
Casar But Cssar's habitual prudence had not entirely deserted 

cOTsoiidatehis ^^^^- He never allowed himself to forget that a power so 
power. rapidly acquired might as rapidly be lost. True, he had suc- 

ceeded in passing a striking series of revolutionary laws ; but 
he knew well that the moment he left Rome the Conservatives 
would attempt to annul them. He therefore spent the whole 
of the rest of his Consulship in a characteristically vigorous 
attempt to consoHdate the power of the Triumvirate. It 
was necessary before aU things, to secure for the Consulship 
in the following year men devoted to his own and his friends' 
interests. The candidates he selected were Aulus Gabinius, 
a faithful adherent of Pompey, and Lucius Calpumius Piso, 
a member of an old noble family which had, however, deserted 
the traditions of its past. Piso's father had lost his patrimony 
and had then devoted himself to business. After making a 
considerable fortune in miHtary contracts at the time of the 
Social War, he had married a rich plebeian, the daughter of 
a merchant at Piacenza.* So far as we can judge, Piso was 
a man of some intelligence, but prepared in his own interests 
to take service under any banner. In order to make quite sure 
of him, Caesar became engaged to his daughter Calpurnia. 
Ciodius as But above aU it was necessary to make certain of a permanent 

election agent, majority in the Assembly. This was the only way of securing 
that the Conservative party should not take advantage of 
Caesar's absence to persuade the people to annul his laws. 
Granted the selfishness and hostility of the upper and middle 
classes, it was only amongst the poor and the dregs of the 
population, amongst the artisans, the freedmen and the 

* Cic, in Pis,, xxxvii,> S/f 


beggars, that a mass mob of reliable electors could be found 59 b.c. 
who would be ready to vote at the orders of a leader. But the 
events of the last few years had shown the danger of trusting 
blindly in a populace that was as loose and uncompacted as 
the sand on the seashore. Caesar therefore determined to 
organise at least a part of this mob into a regular electoral 
corps. Looking out for a man for his purpose, he skilfully 
fixed upon Clodius, in whom the notorious arrogance of his 
ancestors had been transmuted into a passion for all that was 
brutal and vulgar, and who loved nothing better than the 
society of thieves, loafers and desperadoes. Caesar proposed 
to assist him to the Tribuneship on condition that he became 
his chief electoral agent. Clodius accepted. He was only too 
ready to enjoy a year of power in order to take his vengeance 
on Cicero, against whom he had nursed a wild hatred ever since 
his denunciation in the matter of the sacrilege. 

But Bibulus had the elections postponed from July to Cicero recovers 
October. Meanwhile Cicero who about the beginning of ^''®^''*^®" 
July had returned from Campania,* noticed that, amid the 
general agitation, his prestige was again beginning to rise. 
Pompey missed no occasion of saying him a gracious word,t 
wlule Caesar proposed to take him to Gaul under his command.! 
Both were clearly anxious not to have him as an adversary. 
The malcontents, the Conservatives, and the younger genera- 
tion, all the forces of the opposition, besieged his house as in 
the great days of the Conspiracy and seemed to regard him 
as the only man capable of restoring the Constitution.§ Only 
Clodius was his enemy, and filled Rome with invectives and 
menaces against him.|| But Cicero was weary and doubts 
preyed upon his mind. The flatteries of Caesar and Pompey 
had little hold on him, for his aversion for the coaHtion was deep 
and sincere. But he had no longer the courage to undertake 
an energetic opposition. He was perpetually changing his 
mind, sometimes eager for the fray, sometimes discouraged 
by the slackness of the Conservatives.^f In their private meet- 
ings, they aU roundly abused Caesar ; but in public there was 
nothing that they would say or do. Only one of the candidates 
for 58 had refused to swear to his laws. 

Moreover the threats of Clodius were beginning to be so 
disquieting to Cicero, that he gradually forgot all public 

* Drumann, G. R., ii. 230 ; v. 16. f Cic, A., ii. 19, 4. 

i Id., ii. 18, 3 ; A., ii. 19, 5. § Id., ii. 22, 3. 

II Id., ii, 20, 2. •[[ Id., ii. 18, 3 ; ii. 32, 6. 

59 B.C. 

Clodius' de- 
sigrns against 

Tlie decree of 
alliance witti 

Tlie plot of 


disorders. He had spoken of them to Pompey and had been 
reassured by a declaration that Clodius had promised the 
Triumvirs to do nothing against him.* This kept him quiet 
for some time, but when he saw Clodius continuing his campaign 
of invective, his anxieties broke out afresh. He wrote to 
Atticus to come hastily to Rome to discover the intentions of 
Clodius through Clodia, with whom Atticus seems to have had 
intimate relations.-}- As a matter of fact Clodius was purposely 
deceiving Pompey. He was reaUy anxious to have Cicero 
condemned to exile on the accusation of having illegally 
executed the accomplices of Catiline. But he was clever 
enough to conceal his purpose from the world ; he was well 
aware how difEicult it was to secure the banishment of so dis- 
tinguished an orator, and was hoping for some opportunity 
of taking him by surprise. J 

In the meantime Csesar had proposed an admirable bill, 
definitely worded, though no doubt difficult to apply, placing 
a check on the conduct of provincial governors. He further 
induced Vatinius, who was weU paid for his trouble with shares 
in the company of tax-farmers, to propose a second bill 
authorising him to settle 5000 colonists with Latin rights at 
Como.§ And he also took another and a far more momentous 
step. He made up his mind in favour of alliance with the 
Suevi, and induced the Senate to give Ariovistus the title of 
Friend and Ally. Always unscrupulous in his choice of means, 
he was anxious to secure beforehand every chance of success 
in the war against the Helvetii, which he reckoned on conduct- 
ing in the following year. He intended to attack them in their 
own country before they had time to make a move ; and his 
object in concihating Ariovistus was to set his mind easy on 
the score of the Suevi and to ensure the isolation of the Helvetii. 

But Pompey still hesitated and seemed even to regret that 
he had become involved in the coahtion. Cffisar in his per- 
plexity, adopted an ingenious manoeuvre to break down his 
colleague's irresolution. He induced him to believe that the 
Roman aristocracy had entered into a plot against his Ufe. 
Vatinius persuaded a police agent called Vettius to induce 
some frivolous young members of the aristocracy to concoct 
and then confess a conspiracy against Pompey. Vettius spoke 
of it to a son of Scribonius Curio. Curio, too clever to 
swallow the bait, at once told his father, who revealed it to 

* Cic, A., ii., 20, 2 ; 22, 2. 
I Dion, xxxviii. 12. 

t Id., 22, 4 and 5. 

§ Lange, R. A., iii. 284. 


Pompey. Vettius was arrested and put into prison, where he 59 b.c. 
laid information against several young aristocrats, amongst 
others Brutus, son of Servilia. It is not impossible that Vettius 
may actually have spoken to Brutus on the matter and that 
Brutus was imprudent enough to listen, which would indicate 
that Vettius had an ominous insight into character ; in any 
case Servilia hastened to Caesar, who went to visit Vettius in 
prison. Caesar then assembled the people and confronted them 
with Vettius, who told a long story of a plot in which Brutus no 
longer figured, but in which vague accusations were brought 
against powerful personages in the Conservative party, against 
Lucullus, Domitius, Ahenobarbus and Cicero himself. After 
that the matter was hushed up. It was even asserted that 
Caesar had Vettius secretly put to death in prison.* 

In October the elections at last took place. Piso and ciodius' bills. 
Gabinius were elected Consuls and Ciodius Tribune of the 
people. The Praetors were all Conservatives ; and amongst 
them was Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus. Soon afterwards 
the Senate, in which the Conservative party had lost a great 
part of its influence, on the proposal of Crassus and Pompey, 
added the government of Narbonese Gaul with one legionf 
to the province already given to Caesar. Cxsar, now sure of 
his pro-Consular command, was occupied in definitely consoli- 
dating his position amongst the electors by the organisation 
of what we may not unfairly describe as the Tammany HaU 
of antiquity. Ciodius had hardly entered upon his office when, 
on December 10, he announced a series of biUs, each out- 
bidding the other in popularity, which had certainly been 
approved beforehand by Cffisar. First came a corn bill, 
according to which poor citizens could be provided writh corn 
by the State, no longer at a low figure but gratis ; next a biU 
permitting the people to meet and pass laws on aU feast days ; 
finally a biU granting complete freedom of association to the 
working classes at Rome. J Some of the Conservatives, includ- 
ing Cicero, wished to meet these proposals with a vigorous 
opposition, but Ciodius adroitly quieted them by giving them 
to understand that if they consented to approve them, he would 
cease to attack Cicero.§ Thus it came about that in the first 
days of 58 they were aU of them approved without opposition. 

* Dion, xxxviii. 9 ; Cic, A., ii. 24 ; Suet., Caes., 20 ; Cic, in Vat., 
lo-ii. The story is not improbable, but it is only conjectural. The 
authorities are very confused. 

t Dion, xxxviii. 8 ; Suet., Caes., 22 ; Cic, Prov. Cons., xv. 36. 

X Lange, R. A., iii. 289 fi. § Dion, xxxviii. 14. 


58 B.C. Cloditis thereupon proposed a new law entrusting one of his 
clients, Sextus Clodius, a man of poor and obscure family, 
with the task of drawing up the list of those who should be 
admitted to the free distribution of corn.* 
The Tammany This led to a curious and unexpected development. A 
HaU of Rome, j^jgg number of shopkeepers, pedlars and artisans who possessed 
slaves and had difficulty in supporting them on account of the 
high price of corn, gave them their freedom in order that they 
might be fed at the public expense.-f- The saving in food was 
calculated to compensate their masters for the loss of service 
entailed by their enfranchisement. This caused a rapid increase 
in the number of those entitled to the distribution : for Sextus 
was not scrupulous as to what names were inserted on the list. 
The law was thus of very considerable benefit to the poor, and 
the popularity of Cassar, Pompey, Crassus and Clodius was 
correspondingly increased. With the aid of Sextus and the 
Consuls, Clodius now found it easy to establish associations 
among the working classes in every quarter of the city, which 
were to serve at once as labour and electoral guilds. He further 
organised into troops or decuries a large number of freedmen 
and even of slaves, under the command of corporals who were 
to lead them to the vote on the receipt of orders from head- 
quarters. J This electoral army, recruited from amongst the 
poor cosmopolitan electorate of Rome and analogous to that 
recruited by Tammany Hall amongst a very similar electorate 
in New York, was entirely at the service of the three leaders ; 
yet thanks to the new Corn Law, its maintenance was actually 
paid for by the goverjiment. In order to facihtate his distribu- 
tion of corn, Clodius passed through the Assembly a biU decree- 
ing the annexation of Cyprus and the confiscation of the 
treasures of its King, on the pretext that he continued to give 
assistance to the pirates.§ 
Clodius Clodius had served his leaders with both zeal and abihty ; 

icero. j^^ ^^g ^^^ ready for his reward. He clamoured for the 
condemnation of Cicero. Caesar, Crassus and Pompey would 
gladly have withdrawn Cicero from Rome, but in some less 
ignominious fashion. Caesar, who had already left Rome and 
was on the point of setting out for Gaul, went so far as to 
renew his offer to take him as legate ; but the wily Clodius, 

* Cic, de Domo., x. 15. f Dion, xxxix. 24. 

I Cic, Pro Sest., xv. 34; xxv, 55 ; In Pis., v. 11 ; de Domo.,xxi. 54; 
Post Red., in sen., xiii. 33. 

§ Liv., Per., 104 ; Cic, Pro Sest., xxvi. 57. 


who had repeatedly assured the Triumvirs that he desired no 58 b.c. 
more than to make Cicero uncomfortable, held his hand until 
he had organised his electoral associations. When his prepara- 
tions were complete he darted upon his prey. He suddenly 
came forwar J with a law threatening with exile all who had 
condemned or should in future condemn to death a Roman 
citizen without giving him the chance of appealing to the 
people.* This is exactly what had happened in the case of 
the Catilinarians. At the same time, to secure that the Consuls 
should give him free action in the persecution of Cicero, 
Clodius proposed a Provincial BUI according to which, not- 
withstanding the recent arrangements of Csesar, Macedonia 
was to be given for five years to Piso, and Syria to Gabinius 
with the right of making war outside the province and of 
administering justice among the free nations.t The proposal 
was strengthened by the grant of a large sum of money. 

Cicero and his friends attempted to resist and a deputation cicero submits 
of Senators and capitalists visited the Consuls. Cicero begged Rjimlf"* 
Piso, Pompey and Crassus to intervene, and his friends 
attempted to summon pubHc meetings to protest against the 
law of Clodius. It was all in vain. The Triumvirs complained 
bitterly of Clodius' adroitness in makingthem partly responsible 
for the scandal of banishing a man so illustrious as Cicero; 
but they did not dare to enter the lists against the all-powerful 
demagogue. Crassus contented himself with letting his son 
Publius, a young man of great ability and high aspirations, 
act in his place. But, intimidated by Clodius and discouraged 
by the silence of his three chiefs, the public refused to stir 
in Cicero's defence. Overcome by the suddenness of the 
attack, his friends felt obHged to urge submission for the 
moment, and advised him to go into exile with the hope of 
a speedy and honourable return. Cicero wrung his hands 
and vowed he would refuse to go. But the situation left 
him no choice ; and he finally took the only wise course 
which remained to him, and left Rome in the first days of 
March 58. As soon as he was gone Clodius had his exile 
confirmed by law and destroyed his houses and villas. J 

A short time afterwards Caesar left Italy on the receipt of Caesar and 
disquieting news from Gaul, and Cato left for Cyprus as the itliy. ®"® 
nominee of Clodius, to carry out the provisions of his law of 

* Lange, E. A., iii. 293. 

t Hut., Cic, 30 ; Lange, R. A., iii. 293. 

J Lange, K. A., iii. 294 f. 


58 B.C. annexation. Csesar took with him to Gaul a large band of 
friends who were to serve under his orders in the army. Amongst 
them were Labienus, who had been Tribune in 63, Mamurra, 
[Formise.] a knight from Formia who had probably up to this time been 
a tax-farmer, but was now to be his chief engineer, and PubUus, 
the son of Crassus. As for Cato, he had long hesitated to accept 
the extraordinary mission to Cyprus. He realised that Clodius 
had merely selected him in order to make sure of his with- 
drawal and to leave the path clear for the Triumvirs and himself. 
But he reflected that Clodius might bring an action against him 
for disobeying an order of the people. Moreover there was 
nothing to be done at Rome, while in Cyprus he would at 
least be ensuring that the riches of the king passed into the 
treasury of the Repubhc. He therefore decided to go, taking 
with him his nephew Marcus Brutus, who needed a change of 
air after his entanglement with Vettius. Brutus was a young 
man who was passionately devoted to books and who had already 
won a great reputation at Rome not only for his studious tastes 
but also for his stiU rarer quaUties of personal character. 


The luxury of Lucullus — ^His villa on the Pincian — The last 
enterprise of the conqueror of Pontus — ^The Oriental slaves 
in Italy — ^The emigration of Italians into the provinces — ^The 
convenius civium Romanorum — ^The old and the new Rome — 
Borne in 58 B.C. — ^The " corruption " of Rome — ^The conquests 
of ancient Rome and the progress of modem industry : 
similarity of their efiects — Italy by conquering an Empire, 
becomes a bourgeois society and a mercantile democracy — 
The progress of civilisation and the new Italian bourgeoisie — 
The contrasts between the mercantile democracies of ancient 
and modem times — Political indifference and military feeble- 
ness of the upper classes at the time of Caesar — Growing 
poUtical power of the urban labourers — PubUc opinion — 
Dangers entailed by these contrasts — Reasons why, in the 
ancient world, a mercantile democracy was necessarily 
aggressive and conquering — Slavery and its causes — The com 
trade — What a Roman would say to import duties on com — 
The demand for the precious metals — ^Why Rome annexed her 
Empire — ^Why war has now lost its old economic signifi- 
cance — Pohtical and administrative disorders at the time of 
Caesar — ^The Senate : reasons for its decadence — ^The decay 
of the Eirmy — The power of the Three — Its causes — 
Pompey — Crassns — Caesar — ^What Caesar intended to achieve 
in G^id — ^Destiny and human greatness — ^The last years of 

Meanwhile all over Italy the rapid progress of luxury went on LncnUus as 
unchecked. On his return from the East Lucullus had almost, of Enjpfre.""' 
if not absolutely, withdrawn from pohtics, and as though he 
felt that he had carried one great historic task to conclusion, 
set out to work with all his powers upon another. After having 
excited in his countrymen the passion and the daring for the 
indefinite extension of Empire, he was now teaching them, 
the unconscious possessors of the greatest treasure house in the 
world, how to employ the riches which he had placed in their 
hands. With an energy which seemed to grow rather than 
dinainish with his years, the man who had Uved till fifty in 
conditions of old-fashioned frugality, and had then, late in 

59 B.C. 

The baoqnets 
of LucuUiis, 




middle life, overrun the kingdoms and despoiled the treasures 
of two great Oriental monarchs, was now dazzling Italy with 
his display of Asiatic magnificence as he had formerly dazzled 
her with the risks and the romance of his campaigns. 

Out of the spoils of Mithridates and Tigranes he constructed 
on that part of the Pincian now called La Trinita dei Monti, 
between the Via Sistina, the Via Due Macelli and the Via Capo 
le Case, a magnificent palace with halls, loggias, gardens and 
libraries and embeUished throughout with the finest works of 
art.* He purchased the Island of Nisida and spent huge sums 
in turning it into a delightful summer resort.t He built a 
viUa at Baise, and bought vast estates at Frascati where he 
employed a large number of Greek architects,! in the construc- 
tion, not of ordinary farm houses, but of splendid mansions 
on each of the properties, with luxurious banqueting halls§ 
and every artistic embellishment. Here he invited aU the 
learned and artistic Greeks of the day, together with troops 
of his personal friends, to sumptuous feasts prepared by the 
best cooks in Rome to satisfy the gluttony which was the one 
sensual indulgence that appealed to the veteran who had come 
to his enjoyments so late in life. Aphrodite herself never 
deigned to cross the threshold so impatiently thrown open 
to the ministrations of pleasure. As he sat installed at these 
magnificent repasts, the thought can surely never have crossed 
his mind that, while the glory of the policy which he had con- 
ceived and initiated was to fall almost entirely to a younger 
disciple, his own name would survive upon the lips of men 
associated only with the memories of luxurious entertainment ; 
that posterity would forget that he had given Italy the cherry 
tree, and misconstrue the historic importance of his conquests, 
to linger and moralise in half-envious disgust over the prodigious 
Sybaritic hospitality of his dinners. And yet this strange mania 
for building and banqueting was itself but the sequel to the 
work which LucuUus had inaugurated in Pontus, when he 
ransacked its treasures and took captive its inhabitants. AU 
that he had achieved in the East was one long protest against 
the simpler traditions of Italian life ; and it was by a true if 
unconscious instinct that at the xrlose of his life, on his return 

* Lanciani in B. C, 1891, p. 150 f. ; Gilbert, T. R., iii. 376, n. 3 ; 
Borsari, T. R., 196. E. Caetani-Ix)vateUi, / Giardini di Lttcullo in 
the Nuova Antologia, Aug. 16, 1901. 

t Varro, R. R., iii. 17, 9, appears to be alluding to the villa at 

X Id., 17, 9. § Id., i. 2. 10. 


and retirement, he became the apostle of the civilisation of 59 b.c. 
the Hellenised» Orient, with all its refinement and all its 

Nor indeed w^as his teaching neglected by his countrymen. The AUen 
Society was being transformed vrith almost dizzy rapidity. '°"°'e^a«o° 
The assimilation of Orientals into the Italian population, the 
special characteristic of the great imperialist era, was already 
far advanced. Never before had Italy been so crowded with 
slaves. The conquests of the two Luculli and of Pompey, 
the continual warfare and raiding on the frontiers, and the 
familiar traffic in men sold by their creditors or kidnapped by 
the pirates, had already brought, and were still bringing, to 
Italy a vast multitude of men and women. They formed a 
strange and motley assortment. There were architects, 
engineers, doctors, painters, goldsmiths, weavers and metal- 
workers from Asia, singers and dancers from Syria, hucksters 
and fortune-tellers from Palestine, sellers of medicinal and 
poisonous herbs, shepherds from Gaul, Germany, Scythia and 
Spain, all equally and indiscriminately dispersed among the 
houses of the upper and middle classes in Rome and Italy. 
Every one of these immigrants had been robbed of home and 
fortune by the stress of the struggle between man and man 
and had been obliged, whether young or old, to begin his life 
over again. 

Gradually, as time went on, a division of labour was formed The strag- 
in their ranks. Some refused to submit and were done away ^ *"' 
with by their masters. Some escaped from their captors 
and turned to brigandage and piracy, or were lost in the 
metropoHs or on the roads of Italy, or met their death in a 
brawl or a rising or some natural accident. Others succumbed 
to disease or exhaustion, or were unable to survive the degrada- 
tion of their state and the loss of all that was dear to them. 
In every great migration of the human family from one part 
of the earth to another, whether freely or forcibly undertaken, 
there are thousands of stragglers who fall thus by the way. 

But these, after all, were but an insignificant minority. The slave- 
There still remained a large body of immigrants, including Jeedmen?'"' 
most of those drawn from the civilised lands of the East, 
who were skilful workers in the arts and slowly became 
acclimatised to the inhabitants and the conditions of their 
new country As the memory of their home died out of their 
souls, they consented to acquire the language of their con- 
querors and taught them in their turn what they had to teach. 

I u 


59 B.C. Sometimes they were allowed to exercise their profession in 
a shop opened by their patron, partly for their own profit and 
partly for his. Sometimes they even obtained complete 
liberty on condition that they paid over to their patron a part 
of their earnings. They began to be regarded as the natural 
free workers of the community, who surrendered a portion of 
their profits to their superiors to maintain upper and middle 
class Italians in a luxurious idleness. Their ranks were 
being continually swollen by recruits from below : for with 
the improvement in the relations between slaves and their 
masters it became customary before long to grant liberty to 
faithful and skilled slaves after six years of servitude.* Thus 
was formed the nucleus of a new freedman class, with definite 
rights in the Roman courts ; for the laws regarding the moral 
and economic position of freedmen were gradually modified, 
as definite decisions were given upon particular cases which 
arose. f 
Slavery and The slave immigrants found a ready outlet for their abilities 
speculation, jjj ^]^g engrossing speculations of their adopted countrymen. 
Many Italians bought skilled slaves with the object of using 
them to instruct their fellows ; and there were upper and 
middle class households in Rome and throughout Italy which 
had become regular schools of arts and crafts. To take 
but one instance, a perfumer of Mithridates who had been 
the slave and then the freedman of a certain Lutatius, 
opened a shop at Rome, where he prepared his perfumes, no 
longer for the harem of an Eastern Sultan, but for the fashion- 
able ladies of Rome.J All over Italy in the houses of the rich 
and well-to-do there were slaves and freedmen acting as black- 
smiths, carpenters, weavers, tapestry workers, master masons, 
painters and upholsterers, who were employed for their owners 
and for an outside public whose necessities increased as the 
years went on. Out on the countryside the same process 
might be witnessed. Men who had started life as peasants 
in the Cyclades and Syria, were busy perfecting the cultivation 
of the vine and the olive, teaching improvements in the pre- 
paration of oil and wine and in the scientific raising and feeding 
of stock. 
Slaves as Thus among all classes of the Italian community there was 

an mcreasmg variety and refinement of demand and a progres- 

* Cic, Phil., viii. xi. 32. 

t Ciccotti, T. S. 221, fi. E. Ferrero, Dei Libertini, Turin, 1877, 
p._i2. Kailowa, R.^R., 2, 142 f. + C. I. L., i. 1065. 

brain- workers. 


sive specialisation in the employments of skilled labourers and 59 b.c. 
brain workers. The spread of education through the whole 
of the middle class provided openings for hundreds of rheto- 
ricians _ and grammarians ; the humble but hard-working 
profession of teaching was rapidly crowded with quick- 
witted freedmen.* But this hy no means exhausted the 
intellectual occupations. There was a large class of slaves 
living upon the ignorance and the weaknesses of masters who 
had failed, or refused, to outgrow the old-fashioned Itahan 
simplicity. The men among them became accountants, 
land-agents, major-domos, confidants, librarians, copyists, 
translators, secretaries or intermediaries, while the women found 
open still easier pathways to becoming at once the servants 
and the rulers of their masters. The houses of politicians 
Uke Pompey, Crassus and Caesar were miniature government 
offices where numberless freedmen and slaves from the East 
were engaged on their master's work, organising their festivals, 
answering their correspondence, and keeping up to date the 
ledgers, the lists of dependents and the family archives. 

Side by side vrith this enormous influx of immigrants from The Italians in 
the provinces into Italy, there was a very large emigration of *''* P™vmces. 
Italians into the newly annexed parts of the Empire. Just 
as small colonies of Englishmen and Germans are to be found 
at the present day in every corner of the world, so countless 
Italians had by now become established all over the Mediter- 
ranean basin, not only in Greece and in the province of Asia, 
but on the recently conquered coastline of the Adriatic, as at 
Salona t and Alessio,t in Narbonese Gaul, in Spanish towns such [Lissns.] 
as Cordova and SeviUe,§ at Utica, Hadrumetum and Thapsus [Corduba.1 
in Africa, || at Antioch and other towns in Syria, whither '*'' 
numerous adventurers and traders from Italy had followed 
in the wake of Pompey's army.^ These Italians engaged in 
the most manifold employments. They were contractors to 
the army, farmers of the taxes, dealers in slaves or the other 
produce of the country, managers, sub-managers or employees 
in big financial companies, agents of rich Italians who had lands 
or money invested in the provinces, landowners or occupiers 
of public land, and finally and most frequently, professional 
usurers. Leaving home, as a rule, utterly planless and penniless, 

* E. Ferrero, op. cit., 28 n. 2. 

t Cses., B. C, iii. 9, 2. J Id., iii. 29, I ; iii. 40, 5. 

§ Id., ii. 19, 3 ; ii. 20, s ; B. Al., 57, 5. 

II B. C, ii. 3, I ; B, AJ., 97, 2. t B. C, iii. 102-103. 

vincial aristoc- 


19 B.C. whatever the corner of the Empire to which fortune had led 
them, these Italian settlers soon became living and integral 
The new pro- portions of that single and spreading organism which was 
slowly drawing its tentacles over the whole coastline of the 
Mediterranean. They organised themselves into clubs or 
associations regulated by statute, called Conventus Civium 
Romanorum ; and they were the natural escort and Council 
of governors, who, despatched at short notice to an unknown 
country, always ended by becoming either their tools or their 
accomplices. Thus they came to regard themselves as a select 
and limited aristocracy among the indigenous population, 
protected and privileged by their wealth, their rights as Roman 
citizens, and the patronage of the governors. Autocrats in 
their own small sphere, they despoiled and maltreated the 
natives and rode roughshod over the laws : though sometimes 
too they would leave records of a more benevolent rigime* 
Thus the two great migrations of conquered and conquerors 
met and crossed face to face on the high roads of Empire, each 
moving foredoomed to a historic destiny ; the one with its 
gaze toward the West, seeking service for a quick hand and a 
ready brain with the arts and the education, the wisdom and 
the depravity of the Orient : the other hastening Eastward 
to use and abuse all the powers of Empire, with arms and 
authority and riches, and the blind pride of a master who 
little knows what a future lies ambushed in the docility of his 
Rome in But both, in their new homes, looked to the same metropolis ; 

and Rome, the mother of conquerors, had changed with her 
children. The imperial metropolis still preserved a few land- 
marks of the old capital of Latium : venerable and unsightly 
temples of worm-eaten timber, patrician houses in the old Latin 
style, basilicas and monuments decorated with rude Etruscan 
terra-cottas. But the old order was passing, both in spirit and 
appearance. The modest provincial city, with its restricted 
working class quarter f and wide strips of field and grove 
pleasantly diversified by the Httle detached houses of the 
patricians, each with its small garden like an English cottage, 
was now everywhere outgrowing the old circuit of her walls. 
The disorder of the slums now encumbered and encroached 
upon the rich. The immense and towering lodging houses, 
which formed the principal dwelling of the poor, were packed 

* Deloume, M. A. R., 93 f., 302 f. 
t Gilbert, T. R., iii. 49-51. 

S9 B.C. 


together in great numbers one against the other, fastened on 59 ^•^^ 
to the slopes or raised upon the summits of the seven hills.* 
The careful and almost monastic combination of instruction 
and example, of mutual supervision and discipline, which had 
taught the old Roman nobility to conquer the world by appren- 
ticeship in the school of self-control and responsibility, had now 
long since become obsolete. Ambition and avarice and aU the 
minions of Lust, Aphrodite and Dionysus, the nine Muses 
and the Philosophy of Greece, had burst in upon the city like 
a troop of Bacchanals ; and from Rome they had won their 
way through the Peninsula, filling men's hearts, wherever they 
passed by, with an unsatisfied longing for wealth and power 
and pleasure and knowledge. The proud and mighty Empire 
disdained to recall the obscurity of its origin, as the conqueror 
of Pontus, amid the splendid opulence which distracted his 
last years in his vUla on the Pincian, just dimly remembered, 
as from some former existence, the austere young aristocrat 
who had gone to his first battle by the side of the great 

Yet reflection such as this would have availed but little. T''* ," <=«""?- 
Contemporaries who had been at once spectators and actors 
in the great transformation spoke of it as a " corruption of 
ancient manners," as a disease inevitable from the frailty of 
mankind, whose amazing and ominous progress no foresight 
of statesmen could stay. But we, who have a longer and riper 
experience of human nature and history, can form a clearer 
and less clouded vision ; across the gulf of intervening centuries 
the lamentation and invective of the ancients faU strangely 
familiar on our ears ; and by listening faithfuUy to their echoes, 
and meditating on their meaning, we may penetrate at last to 
the very heart of their complaint Only so shall we compre- 
hend the true nature of Roman Imperialism. 

When they spoke of " corruption," Roman writers were The industrial 
thinking of the upheaval occasioned in the aristocratic, agricul- 
tural and military society of ancient Italy by the progress of 
Imperial expansion. The transformation which was thus 
brought about is analagous to that effected by the progress 
of industry in England and France during the nineteenth 
century, in North Italy and Germany since 1848, and in America 
between the days of Washington and FrankHn and the time 
of the War of Secession. Almost identically the same effects 

* Cic, in Leg. Agr., ii. xxxv, 96. 

59 B.C. 

Marks of an 




which have been produced in these countries by the increase 
of wealth and the progress of industry were produced in ancient 
society by the extension of the Roman power over the whole 
of the Mediterranean basin. 

The symptoms are almost too familiar to need recapitulation. 
An increasing percentage of the nation abandoned labour in 
the fields for commerce, money-lending and speculation. 
Agriculture itself became an industry requiring capital and 
constantly demanding speedier and more skUful methods. 
The expense of living, and the standard of comfort and luxury, 
went up in all classes of the community, and rose from genera- 
tion to generation with progressive rapidity. There was an 
increase of the artisan population in aU the cities and an increas- 
ing variety of professions in which it was employed. The old 
territorial nobility fell into decay, while the rich merchants 
and capitalists gradually developed into a powerful, numerous 
and exclusive caste. The middle class grew steadily in wealth 
and independence. Education, once the luxury and prerogative 
of a small aristocracy, was eagerly sought after by its rivals 
from below,'as an instrument for the acquisition of power and 
riches, and for the revival and adaptation to the needs of a new 
age of the ancient traditions in all departments of life, whether 
public or private, from law, education and medicine, to agricul- 
ture, politics and war. Money and brains became synonymous 
with power. Rome grew at the same rate as Paris and Berlin, 
New York and Milan, in the nineteenth century ; and the vyide- 
spread inclination for urban life was causing even the smaller 
towns to increase in size and improve in appearance. 
United Italy. Thus Italy was no longer a nation of thrifty and hard-working 
peasants, but the conqueror and usurer of the Mediterranean 
world. She was now a united and homogeneous community 
in which, with the exception of a few miserable outcasts, all 
ranks in the State, nobility, financiers, and merchants, had 
been drawn together into a singly bourgeois class, living in 
ease and comfort on its invested capital : on the quick profits 
derived from Imperial expansion, and on the labour and 
services of multitudinous slaves, who worked in their fields, 
or looked after their houses, fiUed the intellectual professions 
or engaged in commerce, administration and politics. The 
suspense and depression which had provoked the disorders of 
the Catilinarian agitation had been removed by the vast treasure 
which Pompey and his men had brought back to the West, 
and by the taxes and exploitating of the newly conquered 


provinces. Once more precious metals were cheap and 59 b.c. 
abundant ; and trade and speculation were proportionately 

And Italy, of course, bore marks of the change. All over the The italic 
country the virgin forest was disappearing before the axe, and '^'""' '^ 
the primitive farm buildings with which even the larger land- 
owners had once been content, were being rapidly demoHshed. 
The hideous slave-shelters or compounds, with their gangs [Ergastuia.] 
of forced labourers, vanished from the scene, together with the 
huge desolate tracts of pasture where they had spent their 
days, to be replaced by vineyards, olive-groves and orchards, 
now planted in all parts of the Peninsula. All round the great 
cities, there was a gay belt of villas and gardens, surrounded 
by larger estates on which the new slave immigrants contentedly 
cultivated the vine or the oUve, or bred animals for the stable 
or transport, under the direction of a Greek or Oriental bailiff ; 
while the countryside was dotted with the pleasant cottages 
of landlords, who farmed their own holdings with the help of 
a few slaves. The ancient townships of Italy, still engirdled 
with walls of Cyclopean masonry from the old days of incessant 
and ubiquitous warfare, hastening to don the adornments of 
a new era of peace, planned temples and squares, handsome 
basUicas and sumptuous palaces, to the designs and direction 
of Eastern architects. To match the changeless beauty of 
her sky and sea, Italy eagerly cast off her old barbaric trappings 
of corn and woodland for a more smiling vesture of vine and 
olive, fine cities and bright gardens, the gifts or the plunder of 
the bounteous East. 

Italy was thus passing through the same period of rejuvena- '^^^'biems"'*"' 
tion as Europe and the United States at the present day. She 
was being transformed from a caste aristocracy of nobles and 
peasants into a homogeneous democracy of merchants and 
bourgeois. We might expect her then to encounter some of 
our characteristic modern problems by the way. And indeed 
we discover that she was faced with the same three torturing 
contradictions which baffle the wisdom of twentieth-century 
statesmanship. There is the contradiction between the 
sentiment of democracy and the unequal distribution of wealth ; 
between elective institutions and the political indifference of 
the upper and middle classes ; and lastly between the weaken- 
ing of the military spirit and the heightening of the national 
pride, between ambitious dreams of war and conquest and the 
distaste among all classes for active fighting. 

59 B.C. 

Lords V. 

The work of 
the quietists. 

Panem et 


The decadence of the ancient nobility and the loosening of 
its control over the lower ranks of society : the growing pride 
and independence and authority of the middle class and the 
diffusion of education and political discussion : and the forma- 
tion in the capital of a numerous intractable and irresponsible 
proletariat, meant the close of the old era of efficient if narrow- 
minded aristocratic administration, when the nobles monopo- 
lised the offices, sat together in the Senate House, and imposed 
their own harmonious will and policy upon a submissive Italy. 
The idea that government should be by the people and for the 
people, that politics were subject to the criticism of public 
opinion, that the State officials were not the masters but the 
servants and Ministers of the nation, had become as prevalent 
in Italy then as in twentieth-century Europe. And yet, as 
in Europe and the United States at the present time, the great 
bulk of the upper and middle classes took but a languid interest 
in public affairs ; they preferred to spend their time upon 
commerce or agriculture, study or pleasure, and were unwilling 
to take part in political conflicts or accept official responsi- 
bilities, to suffer the hardships of military service or even the 
inconvenience of voting. 

Yet these political anchorites and abstainers Uved no idle 
or careless lives. It was they who painfully imported and 
planted the trees of the East on their native hills, who laboured 
to increase and improve the vines, the olives and the cattle 
of Italy, who studied and wrote on the philosophy of Greece, 
who acclimatised the arts and the industries of Asia, who 
reformed the architecture of temples, houses and cities, and 
learnt to apply works of art in their decoration — ^who were the 
first, in short, to change an uncouth and agricultural country 
into what Italy has been for mankind ever since, a joy and 
admiration to generations of beholders. It is now sixteen 
centuries since the disappearance of the Roman Empire, and 
though in the pages of too many modern historians the mighty 
host of the workers lies concealed and contemned behind the 
dominant personahty of a few soldiers and politicians, their 
work has hved after them. On the plains and hillsides of 
Italy to-day vineyards, orchards and olive groves shake out 
to the wind the last surviving trophies of the world-conquest 
of Rome. 

Yet these were the men who gave the death blow to the 
ancient spirit of Roman citizenship, and allowed the elective 
institutions of the State to sink into the hands of the ambitious 


dilettanti and grasping adventurers who disputed for the 59 b.c. 
suffrages, and controlled the organisations, of the Roman 
proletariat. For the proletariat was the only part of the 
population which was still passionately interested in its rulers ; 
it found in poHtics a pleasant and gratuitous entertainment, 
as absorbing as the more expensive diversions of the rich ; and 
eking out as it did a precarious hvelihood on the margin of 
subsistence, it had the largest stake and interest in the poUcy 
of the State. To have no politics would for the Roman poor 
have meant to have no bread. It was their politics that 
supplied them with deep draughts of good wine and feasts of 
pork and thrushes on the big State holidays, with the easy 
and well-paid labour on public works or the excitements of 
the gladiatorial show, or the petty cash to gamble at dice or 
recoup them for an evening's pleasure. 

Does not all this correspond, in however rudimentary a SodaUsm and 
form, to the growing power enjoyed to-day in all States which laboure?." 
have elective institutions by the Sociahst party, drawing its 
recruits amongst the urban labourers, who stand in especial 
need of the protection of government ? And is there not a 
suggestive'parallel between the weU-to-do public of Italy and our 
modern bourgeoisie, which, dispensing more easily wdth direct 
help from the State, distracted by its own private interests 
and occupations, enervated by the succession and variety of 
its pleasures, satisfied wdth the influential privileges of education 
and riches and the helpless, if well-directed, criticisms of a 
congenial irritation, seems everywhere to be making a dignified 
withdrawal from the arena of politics ? The political revolution 
of Caesar's Consulship was only the last phase in a transforma- 
tion which had long been taking place. In this department 
of his activity Caesar may perhaps fitly be compared with a 
modern Socialist leader, or rather with a Tammany Boss in 
New York. Roman politics had become debased into an open 
and world-wide market for laws and appointments, kingdoms 
and provinces, exemptions and sinecures and the deals of 
financiers : a frenzied cockpit of intrigue and svnndling, 
assassination and blackmail : the resort not only of the vilest 
and most violent of the men of the time, but of the corruptest 
and most insidious of the women : where, if any honest Roman 
strayed in by accident, he was either speedily extinguished or 
as speedily became soiled with the contagion of his company. 

But the new bourgeoisie was losing more than a mere interest 
in home intrigues and elections ; it was forfeiting its old 


59 B.C. aptitude for a military life. The conquests of Lucullus and 
Pompey had afforded vast gratification to the Imperialist 
Militarism and Susceptibilities of the middle class ; they had disseminated a 
tary"s:^tem.' Sentiment bordering on adoration for Alexander the Great, 
together with the most fantastic dreams of world-wide domina- 
tion. But the great majority of the arm-chair strategists 
who were ready to overrun the world in the footsteps of 
the great Macedonian, could not h^ve endured a single 
day of genuine soldiering. The old law according to which 
'• all men from seventeen to forty-six were liable to military 
service was indeed still nominally in force ; but merchants and 
capitalists, landlords, and professional men, refused to suffer 
the interruption of their business or their pleasure by the 
inconsiderate obligations of military service ; and the magis- 
trates who were responsible for the levies now only enrolled 
volunteers. The arrangement worked not unlike the present 
system in England.* Those who enlisted were generally men who 
had failed in every other town or country occupation, and gladly 
entered a profession in which they received the pay of 224 
[About £9.] denarii a year,t and were not only fed and clothed, but had 
the chance of winning prize-money from their general or 
attaining the coveted position of centurion. It was only 
when there was a dearth of volunteers that the State used its 
authority of compulsion, and even then it drew its recruits ex- 
clusively from amongst the unemployed in the towns or from 
the free peasants and the smaller proprietors in the mountains, 
where some relics still survived of the old Roman fighting stock. 
Yet, even with these resources to draw upon, the ranks were 
not replenished. Italy was now almost wholly a nation of 
money-makers and pleasure-seekers ; and although the numbers 
in the armies were comparatively small, it was soon found im- 
possible to maintain them at full strength with Italian recruits. 
Thus the military organisation was gradually extended. It 
became necessary to keep the soldiers a great many years under 
arms, and to admit recruits from amongst the more primitive 
Latins of Cisalpine Gaul, where the original Celtic population 
had mixed with immigrants from Italy to form a class of 
moderate proprietors, who stiU preserved the large families, 
the simple manners and morals, and the adventurous tempera- 
ment, which had beaten back Hannibal six generations before. J 
Indeed, within the very next decade, we shall find the recruiting 

* Rustow, H. K. C, 2. 
X Nitzsch, G. v., 196. 

t Id; 32- 


sergeants of the Republic withdrawing in despair from Southern 59 b.c. 
and Central Italy and trusting to the Po VaUey to fill the gaps 
in their ranks. 

Yet from time to time, as in present-day Europe, black storm Vox dei. 
clouds of anger would beat up suddenly from the horizon to 
lash the stagnant waters of civic indifference; and the un- 
suspected passion of an apathetic electorate would surprise and 
overwhelm the proud coalitions and their chiefs. The unkingly 
usurpers, who feared neither the gods in Heaven nor any lord 
on earth, sat trembling on their thrones before the invisible 
authority of general opinion, before the pent and gathering 
indignation of the educated public. The sleeping giant could 
be master when he willed. No party in the State could do 
systematic violence to a class who by wealth, numbers and 
knowledge was supreme in the community. Their influence 
can be felt through the whole field of poHcy. Why else was 
Pompey, despite his riches and renown, so scrupulous not to 
offend the Republican sentiment of Italy ? Why was the all- 
powerful Crassus so impatient to obliterate the more dis- 
creditable incidents of a doubtful career ? Caesar himself 
was as greatly under their dominance. When he departed 
for Gaul the chief idea in his mind was to regain, by a brUhant 
succession of victories, the respect he had forfeited among a 
sensitive public by the extravagance and corruption of a dis- 
ordered youth, the indecent propaganda of his years under 
Crassus, and the radical and revolutionary policy of his Consul- 
ship. It is singular indeed how results clash with motives when 
the actors are moving in a changing scene. 

Yet it would be foolish and misleading to exaggerate the Ancient war- 
parallel. If our modern civilisation is struggHng under the modern 
burden of very similar problems, we are far less acutely conscious "'•"^'Tr- 
of their incidence. To ancient Italy they were a matter of 
hfe and death. The political apathy of the civilised nations 
and their growing unfitness for a military hfe do not seem, for 
the present at any rate, to menace the very existence of 
white civilisation. There is a very good reason for the differ- 
ence. The mercantile democracies of our own epoch depend, 
Uke aU communities, upon sustained effort ; but they depend 
upon an effort in which the struggle of man against nature 
exerts a more powerful leverage than the struggle of man 
against man. They depend, that is, upon industry : and the 
object of industry is to make the forces of Nature subservient 
to human use. But in the effort which brought a mercantile 


59 B.C. democracy into being in ancient Italy, the struggleof man against 
man was far more powerful than the struggle of man against 
nature. In the face and in defiance of all tempting analogies 
there remains this great and essential difference between ancient 
and modern life. It arises from the fact that the world of 
antiquity was poorer and less populous than the world of 
to-day, and its knowledge of nature and powers of production 
thus proportionately curtailed. A mercantile bourgeoisie 
of the type which circumstances enabled to be developed in 
ancient Italy can take root almost anywhere in the twentieth 
century world — in a small and defenceless territory like Belgium, 
or a great and conquering sea-power like England, amongst a 
huge democracy in an almost empty continent, Hke the United 
States, or in a warlike monarchy like Germany, estabhshed 
upon some of the most unfertile soil in Europe. All that is 
required for a country is that a small number of able and active 
men should form an industrial aristocracy, accumulate a certain 
amount of capital, lay it out with skill and offer abundant 
opportunities for labour. If labour is scarce in the country 
itself, it will soon come in from abroad. Workers will cross 
the ocean unasked in the search of employment, and accept 
it however painful and degrading its conditions ; they will 
descend into the bowels of the earth ; they will pass their life 
on a cockle shell tumbling on the waves ; they will spend their 
day from sunrise to sunset in Cyclopean caverns before 
furnaces of molten steel, in obedience to the iron laws of 
industrial discipHne and subordination. 
Cosmopolitan In the workshops of the United States there are busy hordes 
■S^Vadnow. °^ cosmopolitan labourers who have voluntarily emigrated from 
all parts of the world. They find a parallel in ancient society 
in the multitude of slaves and freedmen from Greece and Asia, 
Gaul and Germany, Spain and Scythia, who were employed 
at Rome and throughout Italy in the possession and for the 
profit of the bourgeoisie. But these ancient immigrants did 
not come in freely ; all, or almost aU, were shipped to Italy 
as cargoes of human goods. Now we shall see in the sequel 
that the Roman slave-trade affected no permanent depopulation 
or damage in the slave-supplying countries of the East. It is 
clear therefore that there must have been an excess of population 
in those regions, as there is to-day in those parts of Europe 
whence the American emigrants chiefly flow. This suggests 
an interesting question. Why did not the skilled labourers 
and brain-workers of the East emigrate voluntarily to 


the West in sufficient numbers to satisfy the Italian de- 59 b.c. 
mand ? 

The answer is very simple. Because ancient life was still The grada- 
too simple to draw them from their homes. In the modern soc1lt°y^'"°'''"' 
civihsed world the conditions of life in the different strata 
of society pass from wealth at the top to poverty at the 
base through an infinite gradation of intermediate stages 
of comfort. Thus in every section of the community from 
the highest to the lowest, but especially among the labour- 
ing population, there are minute differences between the 
standard of man and man and profession and profession, 
which are quite as important, in their peculiar function, as 
the larger differences between class and class. For this deli- 
cate and complicated gradation of differences is the never- 
failing instrument by which the capitalist bourgeoisie succeeds 
in attracting men to its service even across distances of thou- 
sands of miles. In a world so populous, and so eager for en- 
joyment, as our own, it is impossible that capital should ever 
fail, provided only that it offers a reasonable wage, to find 
men who, to attain some slightly greater measure of comfort 
and luxury, wdll consent to learn and to perform the most 
repellent or dangerous or exhausting labour. 

But in the ancient world this instrument of persuasion was The great puif 
not available ; there were practically no gradations between '° ^'"='®" 
the demands of the workers. From an absolutely unmeasured 
luxury, which was only possible to the very richest, Ufe passed 
down, at one step, to a primitive level, where food was of the 
very simplest and pleasure meant a rare evening of dissipation 
or inebriety, or a free festival provided by the priests or the 
plutocrats or the government. Since his needs were so much 
fewer, the free labourer in the East was less active and enter- 
prising than the workman of to-day. Even if population 
increased and life became more difficult, he remained in his 
own country. Having neither the means nor the desire to 
improve his position, why should he face the pains and perils 
of an unknown journey to seek a distant master who would 
always remain a stranger ? Adventurers and vagabonds 
flocked freely to Rome from every corner of her Empire ; but 
the ordinary labourer remained in the provinces. He required 
to be brought. 

Here at last we have the key to the great problem of ancient 
slavery. It is vain to regard it, with Loria,* as a necessary 
* Analisi della proprietd capitalista, Turin, 1889, , 

59 B.C. 

The key to 



No Corn laws 
in antiquity. 


counterpoise to the attraction of Free Land, for in the Roman 
Empire at this time there was not a square inch of free land. 
Rome was a Slave-State because slavery was essential to her 
production and development ; because she could only obtain 
workers by the slave-trade and by conquest. Her slavery and 
her aggression are inextricably intertwined ; for prisoners, to-day 
a mere incubus of warfare, were then a substantial indemnity 
for the expenses of a campaign. Every increase in the demand 
for labour in Italy spurred the ambition and the. audacity of 
the Roman generals ; and the glamour of the feats of a 
Lucullus and a Pompey was enhanced by the workers they 
carried back to the West. 

The same essential difference between ancient and modern 
life can be observed in another field. Whenever a capitalist 
and industrial bourgeoisie enjoys a period of prosperity, the popu- 
lation increases so fast that the surrounding territory is insuffi- 
cient to supply its needs. This is happening of course, all 
round us in the Europe of to-day ; and it was happening in 
the same way in the Rome of Caesar's time. Nowadays such 
a contingency causes no anxiety ; for the need is at once met 
by the private enterprise of merchants. Means of transport 
are easy and inexpensive ; and there are young and fertile 
countries where men of the same civilisation and the same 
needs as ourselves grow far more corn than they consume, and 
are glad to sell it for our industrial products. These com- 
munities are thus in a position to supply us in such abundance 
that many industrial countries reject a part of what is offered 
them by putting an import duty on corn. If one of the ancients 
were to come to life again nothing would be more incompre- 
hensible to him than our modern corn duties. In those days 
there was hardly a country which had not difficulty in producing 
the corn necessary for its own maintenance, and even countries ' 
like Sicily, Egypt or the Crimea, which ordinarily enjoyed 
plenteous harvests, preferred if possible to keep their corn for 
themselves. The result is obvious. Countries where capital 
was abundant, so far from putting any check on the import of 
corn, did all they could to promote it, and they were naturally 
tempted or even compelled to extend their power over corn- 
growing regions in order to be able to control the export.* 
Thus, from the moment when Rome became the capital of 
the world, the question of her food-supply became one of the 
most pressing in her politics. Here again we have a potent 
* See Appendix A. 


and never-failing stimulus toward aggression in the civilised 59 b.c. 
societies of the ancient world. 

Let us draw the argument together. The progress of a Modem instru- 
mercantile democracy was decided in antiquity, as it is decided °uc°tton°' ^"^ 
to-day, by the progressive increase in demand from generation 
to generation, and by the number and character of the persons 
who are able or anxious to live up to a high standard of comfort. 
We have watched this progress from generation to generation, 
for a period of one hundred and fifty years, from the generation 
which was growing up at the end of the Second Punic War 
to the generation contemporary with Caesar. We have only 
to look round to observe the same phenomena in the civilisation 
of to-day. But the instruments of production at our disposal 
are so powerful, and the wealth already accumulated so great, 
that, so long as there is no slackening in the energy of our 
captains of industry, it is easy to satisfy the increasing demand 
of new generations by employing part of the wealth already 
produced, not to satisfy the needs of the present, but to con- 
tribute to the production of new wealth for the future. Our 
industries, in short, will be able to draw out of the ground, 
as it were, all that is necessary to increase production. They 
have at their command, not only the precious metals, 
increasingly employed as exchange becomes more frequent, 
but also vastly improved means of communication and transport 
and a growing store of raw material and food-stuffs ; precious 
metals in particular are so abundant and so easily borrowed 
that any one who undertakes to pay a smaU interest and promises 
repayment never faUs to secure them. 

In the ancient world, on the other hand, where production scarcity of 
was slower and less abundant, appetites increased far faster meta?s'hi an- 
than the means of their satisfaction ; and mercantile demo- *«!•"'?• 
cracies suffered from acute temporary crises owing to their 
periodical inability to increase production and satisfy consumers. 
Above all they suffered from the scarcity of precious metals. 
Between 70 and 60 B.C. for instance, at a time when Italy was 
investing money throughout the Mediterranean countries 
and Rome had become the London of the ancient world — the 
centre to which the sovereigns and cities of all the world re- 
paired for their loans — Italy was driven almost to distraction 
owing to the failure of the supply of gold and silver. There 
were constant complaints about the high rate of interest, 
accompanied by attempts to prevent the export of bullion, 
and by a serious agitation for the remission of debt. The 

59 B-C- 

through de- 

No Civil Ser- 
vice at Rome. 


demand for money, in fact, grew more rapidly than the supply, 
so rapidly that it is impossible to say what would have happened 
if it had not been relieved by the palliative of war, with its 
expedients of indiscriminate pillage from the treasures of 
temples, the palaces of kings and the houses of the wealthy, 
both among civilised and barbarous populations. Thus war per- 
formed a peculiar and valuable function in ancient society 
by quickening the circulation of capital, which was often too 
sluggish and immovable for the impatient appetites of a young 
bourgeoisie. Since the modern world has discovered other 
ways of promoting this object, the economic significance of 
war has now been entirely reversed. 

Thus we see that poverty, scarcity of population, and the 
comparative want of productive power in the ancient wrorld 
made it impossible that a capitalist bourgeoisie should be formed 
without warfare — without struggle that is, not between man 
and nature, but between man and man. Yet the carnage and 
destruction which war must always entail tended themselves 
to impede the growth of population, the progress of industry 
and the increase of wealth ; though the cheapness of ancient 
armaments made war far less ruinous than to-day. Thus we 
reach the curious and tragic conclusion that an ancient com- 
munity could only become wealthy and civilised by preying 
upon its neighbours. This was a fundamental contradiction 
in ancient hfe which Caesar and his contemporaries in vain 
attempted to solve. 

But there were lesser difficulties than this which they equally 
failed to meet. If aggression meant to Rome what industry 
means to modern Germany, France and North America, the 
Romans needed what would correspond to a complex and 
powerful system of industry ; they required an efficient army 
and a well-organised government. Yet we find that the army 
and the government and indeed all the public services, from 
the lowest to the most essential, were at Rome in a state of 
indescribable confusion. Owing to the fact that every single 
magistracy was elective, the government lacked what forms 
the stable foundation of all modern States, a permanent Civil 
Service, which, amid the struggles of party, can continue 
almost mechanically to fulfil the most necessary and elementary 
functions of national life. At Rome houses would catch fire 
or tumble to pieces while the .iEdiles were busy with the organi- 
sation of games. The supply of water was totally insufficient. 
The first aqueduct had been constructed in 312, a second in 


272, a third in 144, a fourth in 125, but since that year the S9 "-c. 

State had neglected the needs of an ever-growing population.* 

The ships which brought corn for the metropolis were forced 

to cast anchor in the natural roadstead of Ostia, which was small 

and insecure and had never been improved,t or else to sail up 

the Tiber, and discharge their merchandise at the docks or 

emporium, which had been constructed in 192 and 174 under 

the Aventine, on the site of the Lungo Tevere dei Pierleoni 

and the Lungo Tevere Testaccio. The streets of Rome were 

as unsafe as a forest full of brigands ; besides the cut-throats f 

and the pickpockets who infested them, the passer-by went 

in terror of his life from crowding waggons and tumbling 

walls, sudden fires and ill-built houses. 

The disorder of the metropolis was equalled by the anarchy T*"^ latter-day 

r T' • T1- • ^ ■• t , ' ■,.-,' Senate. 

of government, liver since Itauan society had begun to display 
the variety of tastes and occupations with which we are so 
familiar in modern life, the Senate had degenerated, like our 
twentieth-century Parliaments, into a fashionable club for 
aristocrats and dilettanti, financiers and barristers, men of 
letters and wire-pullers, who entertained a cordial detestation 
for one another and were as various in rank and origin, in 
breeding and ideas, in occupation and ambition, as was the 
heterogeneous society out of which they sprang, agreeing only, 
if agreement it can be called, in the common object of using 
politics as the safest remedy against penury. It included large 
landed proprietors like Domitius Ahenobarbus, financial mag- 
nates like Crassus, illustrious generals like the two LucuUi and 
Pompey, men of letters like Cicero, lawyers like Hortensius, 
scholars Uke Varro, students of astronomy and agriculture 
like Nigidius Fibulus and TrameUius Scrofa, and solicitors like 
Sulpicius Rufus § — each one of them bent firstly upon his own 
private aims and ambitions, and next upon those of his class 
or his party, or his cUents and dependents. 
Thus the Senate, like so many modern Parliaments, lost its The interests 

,. ..' , 1 ' 1- . ,at Rome. 

predominant position and degenerated into an instrument of 
which the complex social forces in the outside world attempted 
from time to time to make use. It was these powerful outside 
forces which were struggling together for supremacy, and it is 
with them that the true interest of the history lies. With the 
exception of the Civil Service and the great manufacturing 

* Lanciani, T. K. A., p. 255 f. 
t Jordan, T. K. I., {3rd ed.), 429-431. 

% On the frequency of homicide at Kome see a curious passage in 
Varro, R. R., i., 69, 3. § WiUems, i. 556 f. 

I X 

59 B.C. 


interests, these forces were very much the same then as they are 
to-day. There were the financiers, the large landowners, the 
moderate proprietors, the surviving representatives of the 
aristocracy, the middle class with its social and peeuiiiary 
ambitions, the influences of miUtarism, and the demagogues. 
AU were unsparing in the effort to use for their own purposes 
the powers which the Senate had inherited from the days when 
it was the organ of a single ruling class. But the change had 
killed the old Senatorial prestige. Except at moments of 
general excitement, or when some scandal was in the air, it 
was but thinly attended. It had practically ceased to govern, 
and had allowed the actual work of administration to sink into 
a routine of ineificiency or into the unscrupulous grasp of 
cliques and factions. 
The Senate '^^^ history of the Roman coinage affords a good instance 

and finance, of its weakness. While Italy had become the financial metropo- 
lis of the Mediterranean, the Senate continued to coin nothing 
but silver money, and the innumerable loans arranged at Rome 
had to be paid out in a foreign currency or in ingots. The only 
Roman gold coins which were struck were due to the generals, 
who had the right to mint money to pay their soldiers, and used 
the privilege to put their own titles and effigies on the coins.* 
The State finances were thus in a state of chaos not unlike that 
in Turkey to-day. No further action was taken against the 
pirates whose activity had, it is true, been somewhat curtailed 
since the fall of Mithridates and the conquest of Crete and 
Syria ; and there was hardly a district in the Empire which 
was not infested by brigands. 
MUitarism and What was Stranger still in an Empire that rested on force, 
nSsatron^""" *^^ army was completely disorganised. Now that the ancient 
national mihtia had been transformed into a mercenary soldiery, 
it was imperative to establish a regular course of military train- 
ing for recruits. Yet nobody thought of doing so. The 
legions which were left upon distant frontiers were often 
reduced to scarcely half their fighting strength! and chaoged 
their generals from year to year. It is almost farcical to 
apply the name of general to politicians who hurried off from 
the Forum to take command of an army, surrounded by a staff 
of friends none of whom had the very faintest idea pf what 
they were required to teach their sol(fier8, beyond what they 
might happen to have picked up in some Greek military text- 
book. Moreover they were far more interested in the dis- 
* Mommsen, R. M. W„ p. 40Q. t Rustow, H. K. C, 3. 


covery of good investments for their capital than in studying 59 b.c. 
the complex problems of tactics or strategy, and were always 
in a hurry to return to Italy. Cssar himself went out to take 
over the command of four legions with no experience 
of war beyond the siege of Mitylene and the small punitive 
expeditions which he had directed in Spain in 61. The only 
men at all skilled in the profession of arms were the centurions, 
who were chosen from the common militia. Stranger still was 
the circumstance that the army now consisted entirely of 
infantry. In the old days the younger members of rich 
families formed corps of cavalry, but the youth of the new 
generation preferred to lend money at 40 per cent, in the 
provinces or to stay at Rome in the enjoyment of inherited 
fortunes. Moreover even if they had all been born soldiers, they 
could not have supplied the Empire with a sufficient force of 
cavalry. Roman generals were therefore obhged to levy 
horsemen from among barbarians in Thrace, Gaul, Germany, 
Spain and Numidia, and were actually reduced to giving orders 
through interpreters. Surprising indeed are the vagaries of 
history. Rome achieved her greatest conquests with 
an utterly disorganised army, which she hurled headlong at 
the enemy, blindly trusting in its efficiency ; and it was these 
Very conquests which completed the military decadence of her 
people. Ancient militarism, like modern industrialism, sounded 
the death-kneU of the mihtary virtues. 

It would not be easy to discover in the whole course of history Senatorial 
a State which effected conquests so extensive with resources f°™e" poUcy. 
so slender and iU-directed as Rome. Her political institutions 
matched the weakness of her army. The Senate, the consti- 
tutional instrument of foreign policy, had no regular means for 
securing information, and no servants acquainted with the prin- 
ciples and history of the numerous and difficult questions which 
came up for settlement. Its habitual expedient was to continue 
deliberation and postpone decision so long as was decently 
possible, in faithful adherence to a vague tradition of caution 
dating from the time of Scipio Africanus. Indeed for more 
than a century Rome had only increased het Empire with evident 
reluctance and in cases where there was no other possible 
alternative. Though LucuUus and Pompey had clearly 
demonstrated that this inherited policy no longer corresponded 
either with the changed conditions of the outside world or 
with the changed requirements of Rome herself, she still con- 
tinually allowed herself, as in the case of Gaul, to be surprised 


59 B.C. and stupefied by the march of events. The numerous tributary 
or allied States were left to themselves ; and no one was 
charged to watch them or to maintain constant relations with 
their chiefs. The policy pursued towards allied or independent 
neighbours varied from one year to the next according to the 
caprice of the governors sent out to the frontier provinces ; 
and it sometimes happened that at a critical moment the most 
serious questions were simply left to chance. 
Comparative This almost incredible want of organisation in the sphere of 
Democratic ""^ foreign poHcy explains much of the success of the Democratic 
chiefs. party. The attempt made by the Conservatives after the 

conspiracy of Catiline to restore the failing authority of the 
Senate had been overcome by the coalition of Pompey, Crassus 
and Cjesar, in the face of an almost incredulous aristocracy. 
The Consulship of Caesar seemed to mark the definite conclu- 
sion, in favour of the Democratic party, of the battle which had 
been raging since t he year 70. For the government was now no 
longer administered in the Senate-House, but in the vestibule or 
bedroom of the palaces of Pompey and Crassus and in the tent 
or litter of Casar, as he moved up and down his Gallic province. 
Caesar, Pompey and Crassus together concerted measures for 
the administration of the Empire at home and abroad, for the 
distribution of offices and the outlay of public money ; and 
their acts were ratified by meetings packed vnth the tame voters 
of Clodius and by the few complacent Senators who kept up, 
in an almost empty house, the sorry pretence of a deliberative 
assembly. For their correspondence and accounts, their 
information and intrigues, they fell back on the aid of the 
most able and skilful of their multitudinous slaves, who became 
in this way the irresponsible agents of a lawless and irresponsible 
Government of Three. Thus in spite of their blunders, the 
Democrats had triumphed in the long party duel ; they won 
because they were quicker than their rivals to seize the im- 
portance of Lucullus' work in the East ; because they had seen 
that aggressive imperialism and a policy of personal initiative 
corresponded better than the pedantry of the constitutionalists 
with the needs of the day ; because they promised to inspire, and 
had already succeeded in inspiring, Roman foreign policy with 
the energy in which it had long been lacking. 
Tiietaskof tiie But could th? huge mechanism of Empire continue to be set 
in motion by the weak leverage of the Workmen's Associations 
at Rome and the retainers of three far from unanimous politi- 
cians ? Were the Three 50 immensely superior to their fellow 


citizens as to divide between them with impunity the heritage 59 b.c. 
of many generations of Empire ? We have but to look at their 
characters for an answer. 

Pompey was, it is true, the typical grand seigneur, and gifted Pompey. 
writh a considerable measure of ability, but against this must 
be set some peculiar sources of weakness. The satiety of immense 
riches and the easy and unprecedented successes of his early 
career acted as a dead weight upon his spirit : and he was 
further distracted by the strange passion which seized him 
in middle life for the young and gracious Julia. A great aristo- 
crat, fully persuaded that he was a great man, he was ready 
enough to be responsible for the government of the world, 
provided only that it in no way interfered with his personal 
comfort and satisfaction. 

Crassus was a man of firmer and less pliable stuff ; untiring Crassns. 
in his pursuit of power and wealth, he was not to be sated with 
the mere possession of wealth, with slaves, or houses, or land, 
or mines, or with the hundreds of debtors whom he held at his 
mercy ; he could never shake off his old dream of a feat of arms 
which should make him the equal of Lucullus and Pompey 
and bring compensation for the failures which had lately 
interrupted his political career. But Crassus after all, except 
in his family relations, was merely an egoist on a gigantic scale. 
He was far less concerned for the order or disorder of the Empire 
as a whole than for the health of his children or for a small 
mistake in his private accounts. 

And Caesar ? Caesar was the psychological puzzle of his Caesar and his 
day, for his devious course had driven all his critics off the 
trail. The fashionable young patrician, with his charming 
literary gift, his exquisite manner in speech and writing, his 
amazing quickness of acquisition and omnivorous appetite for 
study, from astronomy at the one pole to strategy at the other, 
after entering into politics with such a show of moderation, 
. had strangely falsified the expectations of all friends and 
observers. They had watched him sinking deeper and deeper 
into debt, then practically selling his services to the highest 
bidder, changing his whole programme from one day to the 
next, dragging feminine intrigue into politics and government, 
exciting the poor and base against the rich and noble, and 
leaving nothing undone that a cynical and shameless versatility 
could suggest. How could men forget that the chief of the 
popular party, who had promised to put an end to the abuses 
of capitalism, had not scrupled to sell his services for one of 



59 Bc. the most discreditable transactions of the time, the reduction of 
the contract for the taxes of Asia ? One who treated politics in 
this way could surely not be considered a serious statesman by the 
thinking public of his day. He was merely one of those noisy and 
unscrupulous but shallow-minded politicians, who, finding an un- 
worthy satisfaction in the futile arts of ostentation and notoriety, 
and gifted with a magnificent and expressive rhetorical style, 
often make themselves heard and felt in the disorder of a young 
mercantile democracy, when men are deaf to the claims of 
morals or politics, but beginning to be attentive to crude and 
novel ideas in speech and writing, particularly if expressed 
in unchastened and vituperative language. There were many 
no doubt, who put Csesar in this class. And now this frivolous 
young upstart was going off to GauL And what for ? To 
make wars and conquests ! But he had no experience at all 
of real warfare ; and did not every one at Rome know that he 
had not even good health, that he was of a delicate and nervous 
constitution, and a prey to attacks of epilepsy ? 
The real Contemporary students of politics, who detected in every 

event the handiwork of some small clique or party, failed to 
understand that it was circumstances which had continually 
been thwarting Csesar, against his own higher aspirations, in 
all that he had projected to do. The man whom almost all 
modern historians naively regard as resolved from his earliest 
youth to undertake, single-handed, the government of the 
world, and whose life is described as a continuous and calculated 
effort towards the supreme goal of his ambition, had up to this 
moment, more than any other distinguished man of his time, 
been exposed to the merciless buffeting of events. Time after 
time he had been compelled to act in a manner contrary to his 
original intentions. With a mind admirably endowed for 
scientific or artistic achievement, keen, alert, imaginative, 
and withal ambitious, he was for ever searching, even in the 
sphere of politics, for the power and beauty which spring from 
harmony and balance. He had begun life as the champion 
of a distinguished and moderate Democratic party, drawn from 
the most cultured circles in Rome, with the ambition of becom-r 
ing the Pericles of his country ; and he served his apprentice- 
ship for the government of a great Empire by studying in the 
schools of eloquence, fashion and art. But the poverty of 
his family and the growing apathy of the upper classes had 
shattered this picturesque illusion. He had been forced to 
incur debts in order to make a name, and then to sell himself 


to Crassus just at the moment when democracy was fast sinking 59 b.c. 

into the slough of mob-rule. Exposed in this way to the 

irreconcileable resentment and relentless persecution of the 

nobility, he had sought to shield himself by winning popularity 

among the poor, and by procuring the money to pay for it. 

He had thus come to employ the multifarious talents he had 

inherited from his patrician ancestors as a low-class demagogue, 

a persistent intriguer and unscrupulous man of business, as 

daring in his designs as he was remorseless in their execution. 

At times, in the heat of the conflict, his nervous and excitable 

temperament had overborne the moderation habitual to his 

character, and in his attacks on his assailants he had sometimes 

been carried far further than he had originally intended to 

go. But he had never allowed any momentary elation to tempt 

him to his ruin : he had always recovered his bearings before 

committing any irreparable blunder. The instinct of prudence 

was too deeply implanted in his nature to be uprooted by 

the excitements of those years of storm and stress. 

And now once more destiny was at his elbow, urging him. Destiny and 
the fourth Caius of the Roman democracy, along the road ne^f" *^°^ ' 
which its first chief had opened into the future, to complete 
the age-long task begun by Caius Flaminius and continued 
by Caius Gracchus and Caius Marius. And yet the only object 
of which he was conscious in going to Gaul was to regain by 
a few striking victories the respect which he had lost among 
the upper classes by the unfortunate and inevitable development 
of his career.* The law of life was the same then as it has been 
in all ages. The great men of that day were just as ignorant 
as their fellows of the historic work of which they were at once 
to be the instruments and the victims. Like all other human 
beings, they were the plaything of what in history we can 
name Destiny, though it is nothing more than the unforeseen 
coincidence of events, the emergence into action of hidden 
forces which, in a complex and disordered society such as that 
of Rome or of our own day, no contemporary can be expected 
to discern. These men had risen to their high position, not 
through any superhuman powers of will or intellect on their 
own part, but through the singular conditions of the days in 
which they lived — because birth and reputation, riches, ambi- 

* The intentions attributed to him by Mommsen, R. G., iii. 222, 
seem to spring entirely out of his fanatical admiration for his hero. 
They are too profound. The way in which Cjesar conducted his 
campaigns in Gaul shows that he was always impelled to action by 
immediate motives. 


59 B.C. tion and ability, and above all chance, had placed in their hands 
a power that grew resistlessly greater as, through the growing 
apathy of the upper classes, the old State institutions crumbled 
steadily to decay. But the day was at hand when their coveted 
greatness would become revealed in a tragic and inextricable em- 
barrassment : when it compelled them to assume labours and re- 
sponsibilities which as far exceeded their strength as the honours 
they were now enjoying exceeded their deserts. Dark indeed 
was the issue which Destiny was reserving for each one of the 
The passing of three. »Meanwhile, solitary amidst all the disorder of his time, 
Lucullus, the strangest and most isolated figure in the whole 
history of Rome, from his vast and sumptuous gardens on the 
Pincian, on the height where the Belvedere of the Medici Villa 
had since been placed, philosophised with the doctors of Greece 
on the corruption of his countrymen, as he looked quietly down 
from his calm island refuge over the great city at his feet — 
a vast and moving ocean for ever swept by the tides and tempests 
of human society. Alone among all the rivals of his power he 
was to have a gentle passing : Euthanasia, the Greek goddess of a 
Happy Death, came herself to fetch him home. Not long was 
to elapse before his wild and soaring spirit, after enjoying for 
a brief space the late-found happiness of repose, reached the 
end of its earthly term, having achieved, in ignorance, hke all 
its fellows, one of the mightiest tasks in history ; and while 
the world-tragedy of the new Imperialism which he had created 
was drawing slowly to its climax, Lucullus, alone of the great 
men of his day, fell peacefully asleep in the arms of the silent 


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